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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Who needs small businesses when we can have more bike toys?

The Portland "planners" are at it again. The theme park needs new rides.

Comments (29)

The CEID is already doomed, don't those small businesses know that? Some were even 'sited' over there by the city when they were chased out of the Pearl District. You'd think they've wised up by now. For those that can afford it, Clackamas is in their future.

From that recent Metro study, cyclists make up 3% of all trips. When comparing the attentioned lavished upon them, relative to their numbers, Portland cyclists may be the most coddled special interest group in the nation.

Bike shops are small businesses too.

I have a hard time seeing a bike loop as an impediment to trucks. They have limited roads they can go on already and with proper signaling systems where the trucks travel, this will not be an issue. I write logistics software for a living and we make the trucks stick to roads they can actually navigate so as not to get them in serious trouble. Our software is multi-modal and can route bicycles to preferred streets as well. We keep them apart from each other best we can as city planners normally do as well.

The green bike boxes are not considered a safety improvement to bicycles in our routing software, as those are usually placed where there is high truck traffic. Side boulevards are preferred. The city's plan for a couplet along Lovejoy with bikes running between the couplet streets was one of the stupider moves by our city planners. I run all the way over to Overton to get away from that absurdity when on bike. Sometimes I do wish I could be a fly on the wall in their meetings.

They do mess things up so that is probably the larger concern. Bikes and trucks can work in the same city if planners are competent.

That's a big "if."

Trucks have Seventh now. You're making their life more difficult. There is the Esplanade close by for the bikeys. Even discussing this tells business, "Stay away from Portland."

They do mess things up so that is probably the larger concern. Bikes and trucks can work in the same city if planners are competent.

I would say that is true if planners are not simply competent, but view the non-bikes (be they cars, trucks, etc.) as valid stakeholders in the process. Instead, we get a process where the attitude is that the system needs to be designed for the bikes, and then everyone else will automatically adjust. (Or leave.)

Here is how it works Seth: Trucks are using 7th to help local businesses do what they do. People like yourself insist that the trucks can "share" with bikes, and bikes are shoehorned in. Three years pass, and bike nazis declare that the street is unsafe for bikes because there are too many trucks. Truck traffic must be severely curtailed in order to protect those vulnerable cyclists. Now it is a bike route doing the local businesses far less good.

In terms of a "loop" that would incorporate the under construction MLR bridge it makes sense to either go along the Eastbank Esplanade, or Water Ave., which already has a dedicated bike lane. It makes no sense to make S.E. 7th part of a loop...besides it already has a dedicated bike lane so I'm not getting whey they need to mess with what's already there.

SE 7th actually has two bike lanes (one each way), which displaced two car/truck lanes a few years ago, reducing this industrial street from 4 lanes to 2.

Eweew! Trucks! Filthy, smelly, awful, bike rider killing trucks!
Take 'em ALL off all the roads, all the time, now!
All goods will now be transported by cargo bike....
As if! The so called planners are idiots! They should be the ones off the roads, IMO.
But it matters to how many businesses need truck access. The bike Nazis will prevail. This seems to be a nationwide phenomen. We are traveling and I have seen an awful lot of sharrows and green paint on the streets lately.
What I would really like to know, is who is really behind and promoting this crap?

When the streetcar is blocked by a mis-parked car, emergency vehicle, passed out bum, or injured biker who crashed on the tracks you'll need a special "complimentary" path to continue the loop.

I'm not sure I'd suggest Water Avenue or 7th myself, either, because both have heavy truck traffic despite bike lanes on part of them. The Eastbank Esplanade is not for bikes, but bikes and pedestrians both. Diverting more bike traffic onto pedestrian paths is a terrible recipe for disaster. I avoid it on my bike.

Side residential streets for bikes is best. Not even bike lanes. Bike lanes on arterial streets are themselves dangerous if you are not an extremely attentive cyclist who understands the dangers of both passing vehicles on the right in a seemingly safe bike lane or the get-passed-on-left-then-get-right-hooked scenario. Neither are illegal for cyclists, but they are both extremely dangerous.

Bicycles need to be on side residential streets, follow all the rules of regular cars, and use adequate lighting. The city can block off side streets for cars and put in cuts for bicycles while changing the stop signs to prevent cyclists running two way stops. They should do this about two blocks away from major arteries to allow car diversions from the main artery to safely detour route around traffic. Currently the city does this one block away in many cases (Ankeny e.g.).

The vehicular cyclists have many valid points, as do the dedicated path advocates, but dedicated paths are not good for speedy cyclists. Also the anti-bike crowd are making valid points some of the times, although most of them are morons (oregonlive comments especially). Trucks are very important to any economy and they are extremely efficient (7 miles per gallon with more than twenty tons in the back cannot be easily matched by cargo bikes in terms of overall carbon footprint -- rail is better for efficiency but is less flexible). I not only work in the logistics industry, but my father, sister, and brother-in-law all drove long-haul for years. Bikes are part of an overall transportation strategy. In addition to long haul trucking, we're all big bicycle advocates and do long tours. I just completed a 1500 mile bike tour of Oregon in less than a month.

I personally am quite happy that the city does have the ear of the cyclist and pedestrian community and most of the time it is also trying to optimize car traffic as well. Recently, for example, it re-optimized its light signaling system to reduce truck idling and increase throughput of the trucking system. In more cases I see they are doing a good job balancing the interest than I see major bungles, though I do see those as well.

Also, consider that people my age are not able to find work easily and so they cannot afford cars in many cases. Most would drive a car if they could afford them. Others can afford a car but choose to garage it for inner city travel. Now maybe you don't like the influx of young people into this city both with jobs and without, and the city catering to them. That's a valid concern for crotchety old people who care about people being on their lawns and impacting their livability.

Maybe the problem is that the city doesn't appear to do outreach to the non-hipsters and that leads to frustration as if their concerns are not being at least heard. The fact is that we still re-pave roads and cars are not anathema to Portland planners despite the raving anti-bike backlash whenever a bike lane is added.

Perhaps we should figure out a way to disagree a bit more cooperatively as a society.

Why not start by licensing bikers.

Set the license fees to pay for their part of the roads.


You should see the mess they just made over here on Multnomah street. We got switching lanes, unintelligible signs, and orange poles in the middle of the road.

Stupid and stupider since there was already a bike lane on both sides of the road.

"You should see the mess they just made over here on Multnomah street. We got switching lanes, unintelligible signs, and orange poles in the middle of the road.

Stupid and stupider since there was already a bike lane on both sides of the road."

I am starting to wonder whether this is going to backfire, bike-safety-wise, like the green bike boxes have. Before, you had a simple bike path on Multnomah, where cyclists just had to worry about right hooks when they passed an intersection or the entrances to the Lloyd Center parking lots. Very simple and understandable. Now it's a confusing mishmash of right-turn lanes, yield signs, and barriers - whether this makes things more dangerous or safer for cyclists remains to be seen.

There are also barriers to keep vehicles from getting into the right-turn lane too early - I wonder if the Sainted Planners have considered that the main truck entrance to Lloyd Center is on Multnomah, and whether trucks can maneuver in the deliberately limited amount of space provided for vehicles. Should be an interesting holiday season.

Mr Woolley,

While your age may be a factor in your demographic's inability to easily find work, I would ask you to consider the possibility that your resident city's decision to focus on real estate development rather than industry development for the past twenty years is having at least an equal impact on your inability to find work easily as your age is.

Also, since you seem to be in the know, if you find yourself discussing the future of Portland with one of the on-high 'City Planners', please tell them that working adults in Portland are tired of hearing about bikes and/or cars, or how many people are coming, or the damn streetcar loop to this or that. We want industry development. We want the local economy to grow. So our kids can can get jobs and live here. Ask them to plan that.

The traffic planners nearly ran Franz Bakery out of town (if they haven't already). A one hundred year old Portland institution.

Will, I thought we were going to leave that work to Beaverton and Hillsboro?

I agree with you on the disappearance of light industry in the urban core. That's one reason I liked Brady over the other two. I think she understood that better while having some credibility on sustainability. Then again, we seem to have a pretty credible boom of light industry in our bicycle, custom, artisan, green sectors. But most industry is purposefully locating just outside Portland unless their remaining hipster employees threaten revolt.

I personally get calls every week from Seattle to move up there, too.

That's why I think we need to think bioregionally in crafting our incentive structures. Maybe have more discussions at the Metro level before going ahead in Portland on the next zany idea? I don't claim to know it all about what's not working, but I do think you're right about the focus on condos and high rises. I don't think that's actually going to work without some plan for how these people are going to be employed -- can everybody be a software engineer like me or a cubicle working paper pusher? I doubt it. A "back to basics" approach, or as Jack says, KISS, is badly needed in City Hall, and that's why I like his blog, even though half the time I don't agree on the details.


I agree that the Esplanade pretty much sucks for cyclists trying to get from point A to point B without tangling with a lot of pedestrians. My business is less than 2 blocks from S.E. Water. In my experience, the truck traffic isn't that bad along Water itself. (You can thank Charlie Hales for that one because he put the kibosh on an I-5 on ramp down there back in his commissioner days.) In looking at the map where S.E. 7th runs into Division just north of the train tracks, I think they could do something a little more cyclist friendly to get traffic over to Caruthers or Division west of the train tracks. It's a pretty dangerous transition through there, but one I have taken hundreds of times. A big problem down there is dodging all of the Ross Island Cement trucks. It's also like a game of "Frogger" getting across Division, and going under the McLoughlin Blvd. overpass to access the Springwater trail. There wasn't much forethought put into making the streetcar bridge over the tracks bicycle/pedestrian friendly. The best way to get to/from S.E. Water from 7th is go west/east on either Clay, Taylor, or Stark but you definitely have to be a fairly confident cyclist to pull it off with all of the cars, etc. on Grand and MLK, and the east/west streets have no bike lane on either side.

That loop should just about drive the rest of the businesses from that part of town.
Which is the cities goal I believe.
Cheaper to buy up empty properties to build crapArtments than have to relocate companies.

I'm going to do a Bill McDonald agenda. It's time to stop being nice around here.

Joe Zehnder, Portland's chief planner needs to be "fleshed out, or possibly "eliminated". Zehnder and CoP's claim that these kinds of plans are "for illustrative purposes" is deceitful. Think of all the recent "illustrative" plans like the streetcar from South Waterfront to LO, or MLR, or the SW Barbur lightrail line to Sherwood. These claims of "illustrative purposes" is bogus. They are really saying out of the sides of their mouths "we already have streetcars, lightrail, bike loops, etc. picked".

Seth, your praising the planners/bureaucrats that they "have the ear of the cyclist community...and trying to optimize car traffic" is also bogus. How are the numerous examples like bike lanes along SW Broadway, NW 19th, the list goes on, that eliminates one or two lanes of traffic optimizes car traffic, or truck traffic? I sat behind 10 blocks on NW 19th at 4:00 PM because it has been reduced to one lane going south. Or how about NW Lovejoy sitting behind a streetcar loading or unloading passengers without any means of getting around while trying to get to the emergency room at Good Sam?

And I'm a biker too and have invested over 40 years to this city in trying to make it better. These present Planners aren't making it better. Bill, I hope I've said this nicely.

lw, I have no problem with most traffic as I ride a bike. I've timed a commute by bike and car and find during rush hour the bike is always faster.


1) Bike lanes don't back up as far and you can fit two bikes per bike lane making it easier to pass slow cyclists.

2) Bikes also use side boulevards and have better hearing (no glass) and visibility (being higher off the ground). They thus don't have to stop at most stop signs (especially four way) but can roll through them at 8 miles per hour (or faster with a four way stop with no cars at it).

3) Bikes don't have to wait behind cars and can pass parked cars on the right at a light and pull up to the front of the intersection, even with no bike lane this is often possible. I sometimes do this to frustrate cars that can't fit in small places, to make a point.

If we're complaining about how many lanes you lose when a bike lane is added and more people get out of their cars (even if only for the summer), maybe we should switch to scooter-sized lanes for everybody to quadruple the amount of space for single-occupancy carbon-burning vehicles and provide a rule that regular cars can take two scooter lanes if they must travel. Allow scooters an extra lane like bike lanes get so the scooters can file past the big line of "cagers". Instead of blaming the bikes, maybe we can point the finger at the type of carbon burners people drive around taking up all that valuable pavement. The entitlement mentality is funny. Nobody thinks twice about a gigantic stretch limo on the road taking an extra forty feet of road, but if a tiny bike pushes them back five feet at a stop light or holds them up for two seconds as they have a hard time passing, they start raging. I can cycle 25mph on straight stretches and I get passed when the speed limit sign says 25mph and my cyclometer says that's how fast I'm going. People just don't like to be behind bikes, I guess. I also accelerate faster than cars, usually, so I'm not really slowing anybody down. Somebody hypermiling in a prius isn't raged at nearly as much as a cyclist who is more maneuverable.

And just to add fodder, this link is great:

I love how yes! is so over the top.

I think all the PDX planners read it.

It argues that bikes are for everybody, and has a picture of a mother cargo cycling a granny and grandchild around. There is a bus in the picture though just in case you don't have a daughter to cart your elderly self around.

Seth wrote....'Bikes are part of an overall transportation strategy.'

In an ideally planned city.

Sadly, in Portland, bikes are the planners ONLY strategy.....that's the problem here....

A few years back, the Planners were talking about the "ten minute neighborhood" where everything was within a 10 minute walk - living, shopping, working...

Then it became "Corridors" when it became clear that not everyone lives and works in the same neighborhood; nor did everyone want to. But we'd all live in nice lines, with a Streetcar or a MAX light rail line connecting our living neighborhood with our working neighborhood.

Now we're talking about "loops" - the Streetcar Loop, the Bike Loop. Because not everyone wants to live on the same street, so we need to come up with a way to link streets together in "loops".

I don't know about you - I don't live and work in one place; I don't do everyone on one "corridor" (we call them "streets", you know), and I have no desire to run around in circles because someone tells me I should.

2) Bikes also use side boulevards and have better hearing (no glass) and visibility (being higher off the ground). They thus don't have to stop at most stop signs (especially four way) but can roll through them at 8 miles per hour (or faster with a four way stop with no cars at it).

Until you reach one of Portland's notorious intersections that allow parked vehicles right up to the intersection (whereas most cities have a "no parking" zone before the intersection to enhance sight lines), blow through the red light and get smacked by the car you didn't see because you were too busy instilling your ego and "rights" above everyone else's....

Nobody said anything about lights. Stop signs are different. An "Idaho stop law" makes sense.

I think everyone's missing the bigger picture with this article. Andy Giegerich passing up an opportunity in an article to kiss Sam Adams's a** and tell Sam that anyone who disagrees with him is an australopithecine? Something tells me that even the "Portland Business Journal" is sick to death of what Sam has done to the city, and the resident SamRand sycophant was told to knock it off.

The SamRand planners shouldn’t get all the blame.
They are the logical evolution from the election of Neil.

People your age can ride a bicycle.
People MY age (62), and with the infirmities associated with being a senior citizen (I have one total knee replacement) cannot.
I suppose the "planners" would just as soon have us oldsters relegated to the compost facility in North Plains. Soylent Green style!
We are not a pretty hipster picture.
However some of us do own property, pay taxes, and have money to spend. What an inconvenient conundrum.

Nobody said anything about lights. Stop signs are different. An "Idaho stop law" makes sense.

Fine. Let's re-visit what I wrote, replacing the solitary phrase "red light" with "stop sign":

Until you reach one of Portland's notorious intersections that allow parked vehicles right up to the intersection (whereas most cities have a "no parking" zone before the intersection to enhance sight lines), blow through the stop sign and get smacked by the car you didn't see because you were too busy instilling your ego and "rights" above everyone else's....

Somehow your beloved "Idaho Stop" still results in you having tire tread over your flattened, lifeless body, because you're too damn lazy to take the extra few seconds to STOP like the sign says.

Yes, I ride a bike. Yes, I stop. Every time. No, it doesn't take much effort. In fact I usually get a little bit of a "recharge" and it actually helps me out to take that quick break from a hard pedal.


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William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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