The Portland Bureau of Transportation will begin work next week on what they’re (smartly) calling an “update” to Northeast Glisan Street east of I-205 to the city limits.
This type of zipper merge is intended to reduce road-rage.
The project will take a variety of steps to improve safety. PBOT will reconfigure lanes to encourage safer speeds, add medians and flashing beacons to make it easier to cross on foot, add bike lanes, and more.
PBOT crash data puts NE Glisan in the top ten of the most dangerous streets in the city. “Highway-style streets like NE Glisan Street divide neighborhoods and make it nerve-wracking for kids to walk or bike to school or families to walk to parks or the store,” states the project website. “Long stretches of road between signals mean people drive too fast, making it unsafe, and sometimes deadly, to cross the street.”
This section of Glisan currently allows drivers to use all seven lanes of the roadway — including five for driving and two for parking. The project will reduce that number and create several zones where drivers will go from having two lanes (in each direction) to one. Instead of reducing lanes for drivers along the entire corridor, PBOT has come up with a less controversial idea: “narrow road, wide nodes”. There will be one lane for through driving (in addition to a center turn lane) in three sections, but it will go back to two lanes at major intersections of NE 102nd and 122nd.
Glisan westbound at NE 125th Avenue approaching NE 122nd Avenue.
Here’s how PBOT explains this new approach:
“Major intersections will continue to have multiple driving lanes in each direction. For example, this image (above) shows what NE Glisan Street will look like going west at NE 125th Avenue approaching the major intersection at NE 122nd Avenue. This “narrow road, “wide node” design minimizes delay for people driving while still improving safety between intersections. Bike lanes will continue through the intersections. This increases the overall people-moving capacity of the street.”
Bicycling-related updates will include a new signalized crossing at NE 128th (part of the 130s neighborhood greenway), a buffered (paint-only) bike lane eastbound and a parking-protected bike lane westbound between NE 102nd and 122nd, and parking protected bike lanes in both directions from 122nd to 162nd (city limits).
The project budget is $400,000 and funding came from a mix of federal highway funds (granted to the city by ODOT and Metro), and PBOT System Development Charges and Portland’s cannabis tax.
A summer state of mind for sure. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
The weekend is almost upon us and the weather looks downright delightful (although it could be a bit on the hot side, so prepare accordingly).
Check out our ride and event selections below…
Saturday, July 20th
***BP PICK!!!*** Gorge Pedal Experience – All day in the Gorge
How do you make riding in the Gorge even better than usual? Put together a wide selection of entertainment, food, drinks, educational and cultural experiences. If you love Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge, don’t miss this. More info here.
High Cascades 100 – All day in Bend
A true Oregon classic, this off-road century attracts competitors from 20 states. Of course you can do it. It’s just four, 25-mile rides in a row. More info here.
Ride to Sarah’s Kickoff Party – 1:00 pm at Laurelhurst Park (SE)
Join a campaign staffer for Sarah Iannarone’s 2016 mayoral campaign for a bike ride to her 2020 campaign. More info here.
Bikes for Humanity Food + Fundraiser – 5:30 pm at Taborspace (SE)
B4HPDX is a fantastic local nonprofit that brings old backs back to life and teaches people how to ride and work on them. Come out for this celebration and enjoy great food and entertainment while you toast their work and give them money to keep doing it. More info here.
Sunday, July 21st
Carlton Bakery Run – 8:30 am at REI in Hillsboro
Discover the Yamhill County wine region with a stop at the famous Carlton Bakery on this 79-mile ride led by the Portland Bicycling Club. More info here.
Women’s Community Ride – 9:00 am at Sellwood Cycle Repair (SE)
The friendly folks at Sellwood invite you to their monthly shop ride. Expect about 20 miles of pedaling with the option of joining friends old and new for post-ride lunch and/or coffee. More info here.
Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 at Ovation Coffee & Tea
Looking for a fast and fun weekly training ride? Look no further than one of Portland’s most well-established group rides. The routes heads north to Sauvie Island then loops back via the West Hills. Get ready to suffer!More info here.
Sunday Parkways Outer Northeast – 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
It’s Parkways time! That means you can discover northeast neighborhoods at their finest. Come out and enjoy tons of activities (including a walk with refugees and immigrants), great food, and the beauty of urban humanity. More info here.
Bacona Road swoops along a ridge as it alternates between clearcuts and dense forests. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
We’ve sung the praises of Stub Stewart State Park on this site several times in the past. It’s not only a great bike-camping destination from Portland (a MAX ride will put you about 13 miles away from a carfree path that leads to the park entrance), it also makes a perfect base camp for miles of excellent roads and trails.
These companies make our gravel coverage possible.
While the Northwest Trail Alliance and Westside Trail Federation have done amazing work on the singletrack trails inside the park, there’s also a trove of unpaved (a.k.a. gravel) roads just outside of it. I camped at Stub Stewart with a few other families over the Fourth of July weekend. On one of the days I led a few friends on a route that explored some of the best roads Columbia County has to offer.
The route features a bit of singletrack (up and down), memorable vistas of the Coast and Cascade ranges, carfree paths (both paved and unpaved), and even a few lakes few people have ever heard about. It’s a loop you should definitely put on your list.
We began the day with a trail climb up to the Unfit Settlement viewpoint, the highest spot in Stub Stewart State Park at 1,500 feet above sea level. From there we left the park and entered the realm of the local logging industry via Hoffman Road. Hoffman (named after Peter Hoffman who owned a nearby sawmill in the early 1900s) is a major artery for loggers, and because it’s relatively narrow and steep I only recommend riding it on the weekends.
We pedaled around Hoffman Hill and soon made our way onto Bacona Road, the main spine road that reaches 2,000 feet at its highest point and winds along an east-west ridge. Stay on it long enough and you’ll reach Scappoose to the east or it can drop you back down to the Banks-Vernonia State Trail (BV) to the west. The road is named after the old town of Bacona, where the area’s first post office was established in 1887.
The roads took us through a mix of clear-cuts where view opens up wide and thick forests where ferns, firs and alder groves towered overhead. It was a wonderful surprise to see so many wildflowers in bloom!
Road conditions started as annoyingly loose gravel (small, sharp and loose rocks) that gave way to the more interesting sort marked by larger, embedded and chunky rocks. There’s a good stretch where big tires (40 to 50mm) are a good idea. I’ve flatted up there many times in the past riding 38s and 40s. But on this day I was using a set of 650b Rolf Prima Hyalite wheels with 47mm wide tires, and it was the most fun I’ve had. I could pedal hard through the biggest rocks and rip up-and-down the rollers with carefree abandon!
After about seven miles on Bacona Road we headed north and dropped steeply down Pisgah Lookout Road. Our destination were Gunners Lakes, a place I’d discovered by accident a few years ago.
A relatively easy drive from St. Helens and Scappoose, Gunners Lakes are small and undeveloped. That’s probably why you don’t hear much about them unless you’re into birding, geocaching, or fishing. The name is plural because there are three lakes connected by marshy swamps. One friend of mine who grew up in the area said she thinks loggers might have created the lakes to store water in case the area was threatened by forest fire.
We snacked on the shore of the largest lake — or as close as we could get to it. We feasted on jerky, fruit, and energy bars in a turnout before heading back to out to the main road.
Instead of heading directly east through roads I don’t have 100% faith in, I decided to head down to Scappoose-Vernonia Highway and get onto the reliable Crown-Zellerbach Trail. Similar to the BV except without the pavement, the CZ is a rail-to-trail that goes from Scappoose to the Nehalem River just outside Vernonia. Pisgah Lookout Road connects to the CZ at its high point so we got to enjoy about six miles of perfect downhill as we barreled westward toward Vernonia.
Can’t wait for the trail connection so we can avoid this stretch on Highway 47 north of Vernonia.
The only bummer on this route was the four mile stretch on Highway 47 from Pittsburg to Vernonia Lake. This well-known gap between the CZ and the BV is so unfortunate. It’s not terrible if you’re a confident rider, but there’s very little shoulder and people in cars aren’t always as courteous or careful as they should be. I can’t wait until this gap is closed with a carfree path so we can ride between Scapppoose and Banks worry-free. The good news is I hear folks are already working to make that happen.
Vernonia Lake was a highlight of the trip, as was the infamous graffiti-strewn walls inside the old sawmill fuel building. From the lake we picked up the BV and had a pleasant ride back to camp. In a last second fit of friskiness, I suggested a route change: Back up Hoffman Road so we could ride the Unfit Settlement View and Hares Canyon singletrack trails back into camp.
It was the perfect way to end a very rewarding ride. In the end, we tallied a total of 42 miles and 3,500 feet of climbing. I highly recommend this route!
Have you heard of Kitsbow? They make very nice riding apparel that doesn’t look like riding apparel. Their new Backforty shirt and Lightweight Haskell shorts were very comfortable and functional. It was a bit cool at times and I could snap/unsnap the grippy buttons with and pull the sleeves up and down with one hand. The fabric is super soft, lightweight, and full of ventilation. The shorts have all types of stretch and I slipped my camera in and out of the front pocket with ease (and confidence).
Got any questions about the route or gear I used? Happy to answer them in the comments.
Senate Democrats learned what mayors are doing to combat climate change during the first meeting of their Special Committee on the Climate Crisis held today on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was one of the five mayors invited to offer testimony and answer the Senators’ questions.
Prior to his appearance, Mayor Wheeler tweeted that leaders like him are on the “frontlines of the climate crisis” and, “on the frontlines of climate action.”
“Portland is working hard to make biking, walking and transit, the easiest fastest and most effective way to get around in our community.”
When given the chance to present testimony (watch video below), Wheeler spoke for about seven minutes and framed his remarks around his view that climate change is, “the greatest threat we face in this generation.” There were three main points in Wheeler’s testimony: that green initiatives can make cities rich, that more action is needed, and that those actions must to be “people-centered”.
It was in that second point that Wheeler went into depth on transportation issues. Reminding Senators of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that says we have about 10 years to act to prevent irreversible damage. “We’re out of time, and we know we need to take big, bold steps,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler’s prepared remarks submitted to the committee included the fact that despite Portland’s green reputation, our emissions from the transportation sector are, “going in the wrong direction” and are up 8% from 1990 levels.
WATCH: The First Hearing of the Senate Democrats Special Committee on the Climate Crisis - YouTube
Then he went into specifics on how Portland is addressing that alarming trend:
“We’re doubling down on ways to create more effective transit options. Portland is working hard to make biking, walking and transit, the easiest fastest and most effective way to get around in our community. We’re also investing in transit-only lanes and other strategies to make our bus service faster, cleaner and more reliable with the overall goal of significantly increasing ridership. We need to more than double transit ridership between now and 2035 to meet our aggressive goal which is 25% transit mode share. It’s an ambitious goal but our transportation commissioner our transportation bureau and our city planners have proven they are up to that challenge.”
His printed testimony (which he didn’t read verbatim) went into even greater detail about Portland’s transportation plans. It included a spotlight on PBOT’s Central City in Motion program which Wheeler said will roll out three major transit investments in the next 18 months and add 1.54 miles of bus-only lanes in the central city. “The Central City in Motion projects will also improve bicycle safety by adding dedicated, protected bike lanes in several central
city locations,” the testimony reads.
Another thing that caught my attention was when “bike lanes” found their way into Wheeler’s remarks among a list of “technical solutions that will only get us so far” that also included solar panels, home insulation and electric buses. It’s unclear why bike lanes, which we’ve been striping since the 1970s, would be considered a “technical solution.”
After each mayor spoke, Senators asked them questions. Wheeler was asked by Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to share one thing he’s done particularly well in tackling the climate issue.
“I would argue that top-down, hierarchical leadership only gets you part of the way,” Wheeler answered. Then he continued:
“In order to really be successful in achieving climate action goals it has to come to the community as well. I think of everything we’ve done from — zoning changes to the built environment, reducing our wastestream through recycling, our ban on single-use plastics, our 100% renewable energy pledge… the real leadership is coming from the community… Sometimes you really have to let the community take the lead. Then as leaders, we have to facilitate what comes next.”
One major climate issue that the community has taken the lead on is that we shouldn’t expand freeways to encourage more driving capacity in the central city. On that issue, Wheeler hasn’t facilitated what the community wants. In fact, he supports an Oregon Department of Transportation project that will add several new lanes for driving on Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter despite severe opposition from numerous community and environmental groups.
Notably, Wheeler’s remarks did not include a mention of the freeway expansion or its “auxiliary lanes”, even though ODOT says it will be a net positive for air quality and the environment.
Folks: This is not Portland, but for those of you planning to visit Bellingham, here is a nice bicycle ride through some hidden little gems of parks and beaches that can be quite secluded and peaceful!
Three hidden gems of parks in bellingham - YouTube
This might make a good lunch tote or pencil and supply bag for someone in need. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
If you’re like me you’ve accumulated a mountain of assorted bags and packs after years of cycling: I’ve got different bags for commuting and grocery runs, bikecamping adventures, working remotely, shooting photos, race weekends — and then there’s all the swag I’ve collected from industry events and conferences. The list goes on!
Now there’s something productive I can do with bags I don’t need anymore.
Portland-based North St. Bags has partnered with Schoolhouse Supplies for a donation drive that will benefit low-income students as they prep for the school year. North St. Bags is a Portland business success story and their panniers have become nearly ubiquitous in local bikeways. Schoolhouse Supplies is a nonprofit that supports public school students by giving them free pencils, pens, notebooks, bags, and other things they need to learn.
To help reach more kids, North St. Bags will host bag donation drives on two weekends — July 19th through 21st and August 2nd through 4th — at their headquarters on the corner of Southeast Hawthorne and Poplar (1551 SE Poplar Ave). Just show up and drop off your gently-used (leave the badly stained and strained ones at home) bags, backpacks and panniers and North St. will box them up and take them to Schoolhouse Supplies.
Besides being a prime opportunity to give back to the community, the bag drive is also a great chance to pick up a new bag at a discounted price: Each person who donates a backpack or bag will receive a coupon for 15% off any North St. Bag, valid through the end of August. North St. Bags will also donate 10% of all online and in-store sales between July 19th and August 2nd to Schoolhouse Supplies.
(Photos sent in by a reader show the bike completely under the Jeep. Luckily the rider is not believed to be seriously injured.)
On Monday evening a bicycle rider sustained injuries in a collision with a driver on Northeast Tillamook Street. According to photos sent to us by a reader who saw the aftermath, the collision happened at the northeast corner of Tillamook where it intersects with North Williams Avenue.
The photos show a bicycle lodged completely under a Jeep.
We’ve confirmed the collision with the Portland Police Bureau. They say the victim was transported to the hospital with “non life-threatening injuries” (a term that can mean anything from scrapes and bruises to broken bones and/or more serious complications). The driver of the jeep was given a field sobriety test but was not found to have been under the influence. The driver was issued a citation for Careless Driving and was released from the scene.
According to the PPB, investigators believe the driver was backing into a parking spot prior to hitting the bicycle rider.
This is a very high-volume intersection for bicycle users. Tillamook is a popular neighborhood greenway and Williams is the busiest corridor for cycling traffic in Portland.
Following a brazen assault and robbery on the Springwater Corridor path last week, Portland Parks & Recreation will step up bike patrols.
Approximate location of the crime.
Retiree Jay Hamlin was biking on the path in east Portland on Thursday when two men pushed him into blackberry bushes. The assailants then pulled him through the thorn-filled plants in order to pry his bike away from his body. They ultimately rode off with the bike and disappeared into a nearby residential area while Hamlin writhed in pain from his cuts and bruises.
We asked Parks Commissioner Nick Fish if he was aware of the incident and whether or not he had a plan to address it. We just heard back from his office that he has directed Portland Parks Rangers to increase bike patrols along the trail. The bike patrols, “Will allow [rangers] to cover more ground and access off-trail areas,” his office said.
Commissioner Fish also commented on the incident:
“The recent assault of a biker on the Springwater trail is unacceptable. Everyone who uses the trail should feel safe. I have directed the Portland Park Rangers to increase bike patrols on the trail and to coordinate with their partners at the Portland Police Bureau.”
Portland Parks Rangers are unarmed, non-sworn officials who have authority only to enforce park rules and issue park exclusions. They can of course contact a Portland Police officer if the situation warrants it.
Commissioner Fish’s Policy and Communications Advisory Everett Wild tells us the increased patrols should start “soon”.
In related news, Jay Hamlin has obtained video of one of his assailants (below). In the video, which is already in the hands of the Portland Police, a man can be seen riding Hamlin’s bike on a sidewalk in southeast Portland. Hamlin has positively identified the man in the video as one of his attackers.
Video of stolen bike and thief - YouTube
If you have any information on this incident or the whereabouts of the man in the video, please call Portland Police East Precinct at (503) 823-4800 and reference case # 19-233489.
On June 11th Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 810 into law, adding moped and motorcycle users to the definition of “vulnerable user of a public way.” The idea of a vulnerable road user was first carved into Oregon law by bicycling advocates in 2007. It’s an important distinction because it triggers more severe consequences for people who drive carelessly and cause injuries (or death) to the most vulnerable people on our roads.
With bodies exposed to traffic, people who use roads on two wheels — motorized or not — face similar threats and consequences.
This week I was contacted by organizers of an event that aims to raise awareness of road safety for motorcycle, bicycle and scooter riders. Inspiration for the event comes from the May 16th crash that left Portland resident James Dubberly with severe injuries. Dubberly was riding his motorcycle on Sandy Boulevard when someone in a car made a sudden and illegal u-turn from a parking spot right in front of him.
With multiple broken bones Dubberly likely won’t walk for six months. If his rehab goes according to plan, he might ride a bicycle again by next spring. Yes, he also rides a bicycle. A friend of his shared with me via email that Dubberly has commuting by bike for over 30 years and has done Seattle-to-Portland several times.
Friends who know Dubberly from his fitness studio (he founded Whole Body Fitness in southeast Portland 13 years ago, but had to sell it to pay medical expenses) and from motorcycle riding have come together to help raise funds and support his recovery. “Help James Heal” is an event planned for July 25th at Paydirt (2724 NE Pacific St). It will be a chance to support Dubberly and make connections between motorcycle and bicycle riders.
It’s also got me wondering: Should bicycling advocates work more closely with motorcycle advocates? In what specific ways could we find common cause and partner on road safety issues?
This is also an opportunity to remember that every life on the road is important — and that people not encased in steel boxes deserve extra attention. We must drive cars and design streets with these inherent vulnerabilities at the top of our minds.
Motherload takes us on a journey through cargo bike history and use.
Filmmaker Liz Canning knows her subject well. (Photos taken from the film)
Motherload is one woman’s story about finding cargo bikes; but her story connects with the story of the birth of the bicycle, with the first women to ride bikes, with early cargo bikes, with more mainstream cargo bikes — and ultimately with the generation of young people whose lives will be made better by bikes. Some, if not all, aspects of director Liz Canning’s movie should connect with every viewer.
Motherload premiered in Portland last week and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
The film spoke to me because Canning’s story is my story, as are the stories of the women interviewed in the movie. The isolation and sometimes despair experienced by new mothers is universal. I found solidarity learning that I hadn’t been alone in that abyss, and I shared joy with Canning and the cast to see (spoiler alert but not really) hardship remedied through family biking. Canning resides in Fairfax, California, so of course there’s a lot of Bay Area footage, but scenes are shot all around the world. Motherload was crowdsourced, so in addition to interviews with builders, innovators, and participants in the cargo bike world conducted by Canning, passionate cargo bike owners sent in footage of their own rides and interviews. Portland viewers will be happy to see lots of Portland in the spotlight.
The film was shot and assembled over eight years which I mistakenly figured would make for some clunky gaps. The film flows from Canning’s own story to historical lessons to various bike events. And somehow, it all clicks. It’s apparent that Canning is a professional filmmaker in addition to cargo bike evangelist because the footage is gorgeous — especially the way she captures the hills near her home — and everything is artfully tied together. The long timeframe meant Canning had time for additional research and travel to fill out the entire history of the cargo bike: From bicycle precursors to fabulous family contraptions to suffragettes on two wheels. A look at early cargo bikes has great footage of Ross Evans building longtails in Nicaragua long before he founded pioneering cargo bike brand Xtracycle.
Xtracycle founder Ross Evans in Nicaragua.
There’s also a mystery! Canning uncovers a cargo bike conundrum and this is perhaps my favorite part of the documentary as none of the trailers, extras, Kickstarter updates, or social media posts hinted at this part of the movie. This was only one of many stories new to me despite having closely followed the project from the beginning.
The bikes themselves are awesome, but they’re not what make the movie. The people steal the spotlight from the bikes. And it’s funny! I don’t know if the bikes are also to thank for that, but bikes evoke joy and the interviewees’ glee is infectious and feeds a certain silliness. The silly sense of accomplishment over fetching groceries by bike with kids in tow is mentioned many times in the interviews and it’s a feeling I know well. The insistence on not being extraordinary is also a common theme. Portland mom Emily Finch carried six (now seven) kids on her bike and made national news after being profiled on BikePortland.org. In addition to the obligatory grocery store rally call in an interview with Canning, a clip of Finch with her Workcycles bakfiets in a news studio has her assure the reporter she’s nothing special and other moms back home have the same bike. This is technically true as there are other bakfietsen on the streets of Portland, but none with as much cargo as Finch’s.
The message that anyone can do this is an important one for the cargo bike movement. One scene I loved was when Brent Patterson from New York rode his longtail Yuba Mundo to Buffalo State College through a snow storm and told his students, “I’m a normal guy, just like you.” He is, but he’s also superman. As is his wife, Stacy Bisker, who carries their four children (three in back, one in front) on their Yuba Mundo in all weather. In addition to celebrating biking to groceries and selling the family car, Bisker was a champion crowdsourcer and collected footage of numerous biking families.
The footage of cargo bike events is also spectacular and inspiring. Canning organized a Cargo Bike Jubilee as part of Fairfax’s large Biketoberfest event. There’s also lots of coverage of Portland’s second annual Disaster Relief Trials in which cargo bikes save the day after a mock natural disaster. And much cuter and no less heroic is the footage of Fiets of Parenthood in which the disaster is retrieving a dropped toy while racing through an obstacle course.
This film will tug at your heartstrings and make you want to ride your bike — maybe just to get groceries, maybe to carry a kayak or two.
Motherload is 86 minutes long, but it’s a long 86 minutes; I felt as if I’d sat through a feature over two hours long. There’s so much packed into the movie, but it doesn’t feel overly crammed with information thanks to the varied pacing. The fun soundtrack helps with this deception, with the peppiest of catchy tunes following the veritable train that is Emily Finch and kids, and Ross Evans and colleagues carrying ridiculous loads on the first Xtracycles, balanced by hypnotic melodies as Canning narrates her moods and thoughts through the changing seasons of her local grassy hills and beaches. You don’t have to own — or even want to someday own — a cargo bike to enjoy the film, and you don’t have to be a mother to feel inspired.
But if you happen to be a mother who has a cargo bike, you’re going to love Motherload*.
See the evolving film festival schedule (in Berkley this Thursday!) for future screenings. I think the film will be back in Portland in September for the Oregon Independent Film Festival in September and October for the Portland Film Festival.
(*From the Screening FAQ if Motherload is appropriate for children: “There are two brief images involving blood and suggesting violence (one still photo from a newspaper article, and a few shots from The Walking Dead with zombies). Also, there is one scene involving crude language that sensitive kids (and/or their parents) may find unsettling. We may eventually create a censored version in which this adult language is bleeped out, but for now there is only one version of the film available.”)