Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Chainring Chair at the Deaf School Dorm

The national "reveal" is upon us, and the Extreme Makeover at the Deaf School will be known to all tonight.

One of the things people might see is some bikecraft.

Writing in today's Statesman, Capi Lynn mentions the LEED certification of the building:
[director of the school, Patti] Togioka is thrilled with how the dorm turned out. Just last week it received LEED gold certification, which recognizes building performance such as water savings and energy efficiency. The dorm has an "eco-roof" covered with sod and plants that will help filter rainwater runoff, and another roof with 30 solar modules that will generate 30 percent of the building's energy.
The building also is green inside. Each bedroom has a theme focused on a particular recyclable material (paper, metal, plastic and wood).
The "metal" room has this deskchair made out of bicycle chainrings! Bike parts make it into some other structures, along with pipe, larger chains, and other repurposed scrap metal.

It's fun to see the nod to bikes, and hopefully they'll make it into the broadcast tonight.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall School News: Bike Safety Education and the Hammond Bike Train

The Center for Disease Control just released news of a new study that suggests diabetes rates could triple by 2050.

Today's kids will be in prime middle age then, and healthy habits today can reduce the incidence 40 years from now.

Local Bike Safety Education and bike trains can help with creating healthy lifestyles that include active transportation!

Every fall the Mid-Willamette Valley Chapter of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance teaches Bike Safety Education. Here Instructor Robert Fox teaches at the Jane Goodall Environmental Middle School.

After 10 hours of class time and parking lot drills, the students go out on a five mile community ride on their neighborhood streets.

Volunteers from the Salem Bicycle Club, MWVBTA, and local racing clubs, as well as interested parents and teachers, lead small groups of five or six students as they practice signaling, turning, stopping, and navigating around traffic.

Everybody has a blast, and the students learn important bike handling and safety skills.

A couple of weeks earlier, Robert was out at Pratum Elementary School. That ride included a stop for treats at the Willamette Fruit Company!

(Bike Safety photos: Sage Freeman, member of Capitol Velo in Salem, OR.)

Bike Train comes to Hammond Elementary

Bike trains are a great way for kids to bike to school! The trains have adult conductors and cabooses, can accommodate a range of ages and skill levels, and offer healthy, active transportation options.

Daniel Evans, a parent at Hammond Elementary school, is organizing their own bike train! And they need volunteers. If you're an interested parent of a Hammond Elementary student, hit the volunteer page.

Salem's Walk and Bike Update to the Transportation System Plan has a special focus on Safe Routes to School. Biking is fun, and has an important role in public health!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Breakfast on Bikes - Friday, October 29th

Well, now. Fall is here with a vengeance! So wouldn't a hot cup of coffee be nice on your morning commute?

Friday, October 29th, we'll be at the North Office Mall Building on Winter street NE from 7am to 9am with free coffee, pastries, and fruit for you.

Please support our generous sponsors!
Cascade Baking Company
Coffee House Cafe
LifeSource Natural Foods
Salem Bicycle Club
Willamette University.

Mechanics from Santiam Bicycle will also be available for quick check derailleur adjustment, lube, and tire inflation!

View Larger Map

Sunday, October 24, 2010

City Council, Oct 25th - To Moot the Minto Bridge

Because of antiquated laws on river navigation, Council faces difficult choices about the proposed bridge between Minto and Riverfront Parks.

But they have an opportunity to make an easier and more obvious choice. While it is not explicitly on the agenda, it is a good time to consider returning to the decision to close State Street at the Carousel.

State Street is the intuitive gateway to the Park, the Carousel, and to the Minto bridgehead. By forcing additional out-of-direction travel to Court Street or mid-block on Front, or along Pringle Creek to the Civic Center, connections to the bridge would become less, rather than more, inviting from downtown. The current plan fosters division rather than connection.

(apologies for the frankenmap; click to see a larger version)

As for the agenda item itself, Urban Development is asking Council for direction on one of three main choices (for a little more on the legal framework see here):
1) Proceed with the low bridge at an estimated cost of $5.6M
2) Increase the clearance on the preferred design, cost estimates ranging from $8.3M to $11.4M
3) Re-enter negotiations with the Willamette Queen

The bridge will not be cheap, but summer bike counts in 2010 show nearly doubling usage on the Union St RR Bridge. People love that bridge and there is untapped demand for urban scenic walking and bicycling facilities entirely separated from auto traffic. It is likely that continuing to build out the trail network will maintain geometric growth rates in the near term!

Downtown Economic Improvement District

The other interesting decision Council faces is whether to renew the downtown Economic Improvement District.

At the last Council meeting, Go Downtown Salem proposed to create a "Welcome Center" in the Liberty Parkade at Ferry and Liberty. Council decided to refer the concept to additional interested parties like Travel Salem, the Conference Center, Downtown Advisory Board, CAN-DO, and the Salem Downtown Partnership for further comment. This may end in a competitive bid process for the center.

Additionally, if the contract for the downtown Economic Improvement District is renewed, it is possible the service provider, presently Go Downtown Salem, could change as a result of a competitive bid process. The staff recommendation is to continue the district and to invite proposals for the service provider through an open RFP, request for proposal.

Smoke-Free Parks

Councilor Dickey will introduce a proposal to make Salem parks smoke-free. In order to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke, several neighboring cities ban smoking within the public, shared spaces of park lands, and Councilor Dickey proposes for Salem to join them.

Other Matters

Planning requests a reduction in the required auto parking in a building behind Broadway Town Square. The neighborhood is poised to be one of the most walkable and bikeable commercial districts in Salem, and devoting vast tracts of land to surface parking lots is not the best use of land resources. This looks like a sensible measure - but also a commentary on the out-of-balance parking requirements Salem currently works under.

Council will receive an update on Council Goals. The goals and progress reports are worth a look, but most of the goals are flagged with an "in progress designation" rather than a "completed" one. The goals are also somewhat hodge-podge and don't necessarily represent a coherent strategy for Salem. Indeed, some of them appear contradict each other, and it would be difficult to argue that the goals are internally consistent.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hallie Ford offers Highway to Hell with an Urban take on Dante

A new show to Hallie Ford is both more evocative and less immediately relevant than "Critical Messages: Contemporary Northwest Artists on the Environment."

I wasn't expecting to have more to say on transportation and art, but Sandow Birk's images of Dante's Inferno impress insistently with an urban dystopia of sprawl and "californication." The city is hell, literally. Hell looks like an awful hybrid of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The urban imagery is not accidental. On the way from Hell to Paradise in the Comedy, Virgil is Dante's guide. Virgil's own Aeneid is itself about expansion and the toils and costs of empire. It starts with the Trojan war and the founding of the city of Rome:
Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate,
And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore.
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town;
For this, far distant from the Latian coast
She drove the remnants of the Trojan host;
And sev'n long years th' unhappy wand'ring train
Were toss'd by storms, and scatter'd thro' the main.
Such time, such toil, requir'd the Roman name,
Such length of labor for so vast a frame.
(Aenied, I: 1-33, trans. Dryden)

Dante himself reflects often on Florence, on other nearby city-states, and of course on Rome:
"Newcomers to the city and quick gains
have brought excess and arrogance to you,
o Florence, and you weep for it already!"
(Inferno, XVI: 73-75, trans. Mandelbaum)

In Canto XVI, as throughout Birk's vision of hell and Dante's Dis, decaying highways, bridges, and streets are important parts of his infernal infrastructure. Hell is both low-density sprawl and high density tenderloin slummery.

It is about personal destiny and national destiny. Birk suggests much about American westward expansion, about manifest destiny, and about the role of the city. Mostly it is a vision of excess, the overbuilt metropolis, emptied out after the self-created apocalypse. Detroit, perhaps? Earth in the age of WALL-E?

There's not a master interpretive scheme to impose on the works. While they are less explicitly cautionary or didactic than those in "Critical Messages," they are richer with ambiguity. This surprised me since the Inferno's scheme of sin and punishment is highly didactic and cautionary! But they open to a longer span of human history. They nod to classical antiquity, the end of the medieval era, Victorian artists Dore and Dickens, 19th century anxiety about metropolitan density and filth, and our own car and consumerist culture. The show neatly bookends the mainly rural imagery of "Critical Messages."

As it is, the show is unified as a take on hell. But from an interest in transportation, I wish we saw Birk's take on urban imagery in Purgatory and in Paradise. Does he see a positive role for the city? Can the city be redeemed? One must hope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Costume up for Culture Shock's Two-Wheel TerroRide

What's more thrilling than a zombie march?

Why zombies + bikes!

Sunday, October 24th, join the Culture Shock 13 Days of Halloween for a 2-wheel TerroRide. It's all-ages and starts at 2pm. Meet at Clockworks cafe.

Here's a video from BodyVox for inspiration!

Make the City's Walking and Biking Survey go Viral!

Folks are already blogging about the City's bike and walk survey, which is great to see! (here and here, for example.)

Share it with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues!

As part of the bike and walk plan update, the City has a survey and crowd-sourced mapping project to identify problem sites. (Instructions here).

If you walk and bike a lot, be sure to complete them - we need your knowledge. If you know people who walk and bike little, encourage them also to complete them. The City needs to hear from those who aren't comfortable walking and biking much, too!

Indeed, in some ways the current system is functional for a small proportion of people, but we need to find ways to make the system functional for a much larger proportion of folks, in addition to making the system more functional for those it already serves imperfectly.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Salem Should Consider Proposed 20mph Residential Speed Zone

The City of Portland just announced their draft 2011 legislative agenda for public comment. One of the items is a proposed request to create a new 20mph residential speed zone for designated bikeways.

Calm, neighborhood traffic! Who can't get behind that!

Wouldn't it be great for the City of Salem to support this formally?

(Also the City of Salem just released the bike + walk survey here and a mapping project with instructions. Look for a separate post in a day or two with more!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

City Adds Signs and Markings to Sharrow Lanes

The City continues to sign and mark the roads striped with sharrows.

On Commercial and Rosemont NW, "Share Full Lane" signs are going up. This is one is on Rosemont NW at Second, just off Edgewater and at the driveway to the Safeway lot. As with Commercial, there's a good bit of auto traffic here, and the reminder to share is useful for everyone, especially those still transitioning from highway speed to residential neighborhood speed.

Last week, an experienced and regular bicyclist on Commercial indicated that while he still had a couple of cars honking at him rather than sharing, in general the sharrows and signing were a significant improvement.

There are also some small tweaks to the pavement markings.

Here on Chemeketa at Winter, the City added a bike through-lane protected from the right-turn only auto lane. Since the route is for bicyclists to use the at-grade turn-around rather than the below-grade ramp through the parking garage, a very quick merge is required. The west-bound direction can be especially tricky. Here the dotted line and bike icon guide people on bikes to the center.

How are the sharrows and signs working for you?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

November Scavenger Hunt to Benefit Food Share

Salem fall bicycling just got a whole lot more exciting! Cory at Santiam announced a November alleycat to benefit Food Share.

Cranksgiving 2010 will take place on Saturday, November 13th. You'll have to find and purchase 10 items - and each list will be different. The items will be donated to Marion-Polk Food Share after the event.

Check the Cranksgiving Salem blog for updates!

Pictures from the Peach Ride

It was a little rainy on September 26th! But people had lots of fun anyway.

(Next year's Peach will be September, 25th)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

MWVBTA Meeting, Tuesday, Oct 19th

The October meeting of the Mid-Willamette Valley Chapter of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance will be this coming Tuesday, October 19th, from noon to 2pm at the Sassy Onion.

Please join us for the following agenda items, and any additional topics that you would like to bring to the table:

LAB recommendations with Salem's Bronze Level rating
ODOT's $21 Million Flex Funds
MWVBTA's Top 10 Projects
Bike counts initial feedback
2010 Oregon Transportation Safety Conference bike tour in Salem
Bike lane widths
BSE fall classes
MyPeace upcoming activities
Bike/ped bridge over Wallace Rd. NW
Breakfast on Bikes
Bike Commute Challenge initial feedback

If you are a member of the BTA, are interested in the BTA, or would just like to make Salem a better place to bike, please join us!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Fun: The Bicyclists at Salem Film Fest and MyPeace Green Living Day

All day Saturday is a MyPeace Bike Day out at Pringle Creek Community. Check Salemites for links and the full description.

The Salem Film Festival starts up and it has a bike-themed film on Sunday!

The Bicyclists will show on Sunday, October 17th at the Grand Theater at 2:30pm. Filmmakers Carl Jameson, Sharon Jameson, Paul Glazier, Elle Poindexter and Melissa Goad are scheduled to attend and discuss the film during a Q&A with the audience following the screening.

Tickets are $8 and they are, along with festival passes, available for advance sale at this time by going to or calling Travel Salem, visiting our website, or stopping by Salem Cinema on Broadway. For additional details about the festival check on the Salem Film Festival website. For more on the film see the film's site.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

State Transportation Safety Conference Tours Salem Bike Facilities

On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon about 25 traffic safety experts and advocates took a bike tour of Salem, looking at successes and challenges.

Monday through Thursday the 2010 Oregon Transportation Safety Conference took place at the Conference Center. One of the breakout sessions was a bike tour.

Julie Warncke and Kevin Hottmann of the City of Salem led the group, and folks couldn't have been happier with the weather.

The tour focused on the downtown core. The Union St. Railroad Bridge was a source of both great success and great challenge. We also looked at the new sharrows on Commercial and Chemeketa, and turned then to the Railroad quiet zone and connectivity across the rail line.

The bike fleet of the Mid-Willamette Valley Chapter of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance provided loaners, and Bike Safety Education Instructor Robert Fox helped people with bikes.

After going through Riverfront Park (see the top panorama), we crossed the Center Street Bridge and stopped at the Rail right-of-way terminus at Wallace Road. We talked about the challenges of getting people across Wallace and the non-intuitive signing the dead-end required. (Shane Rhodes of Kidical Mass and Eugene Safe Routes in plaid!)

After looping around on Wallace and Glen Creek we stopped on the Union St.RR Bridge itself, and Julie talked about how loved it is.

Everybody loves it! It was without a doubt the most popular part - and later a smaller group took a walking tour of it.

Then we crossed front and stopped at Commercial and Union. Here Kevin talks about the difficulties in getting people across. Greg Raisman (with beard) from the City of Portland had helpful suggestions.

We biked down Commercial, using the new sharrows in the outer lanes. After we turned on Chemeketa, we found the Wednesday market still in session, so we had to dismount to go through it. Then we took off again and stopped at the Capitol Mall to discuss the bathrooms, and continued on to the 12th street promenade, where we stopped a couple of times to talk about the railroad crossings.

Then the group came back. It was a great discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of recent downtown projects, and the varied backgrounds of the participants made for interesting conversation about people walking, bicycling, and driving, as well as about different sized cities and the challenges distinct to each.

Another Word from our Sponsors

Today we have another "word from our sponsor"! Breakfast on Bikes couldn't happen without the support of businesses who look forward to creating a sustainable transportation system. Thank you!

On Saturday, LifeSource Natural Foods holds their 16th annual customer appreciation day. Go check it out!

For more see the LifeSource October newsletter!

On Wednesday Cascade Baking Company observed their 10th birthday.

And while we don't know that the Coffee House Cafe has a birthday right now, take a moment to check out the lively cafe scene if you haven't already.

Thank them for their support!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cascade Baking Turns 10!

Help celebrate Cascade Baking Company's 10th birthday today! Stop on in for 10% off on baked goods and breads. They'll have free birthday cake, too!

And thank 'em for supporting Breakfast on Bikes and sustainable transportation!

The bakery is on State St just behind the Pioneer Trust building, at 229 State Street.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Riverfront - Minto Park Bridge Crosses one Gap

Last night City Council voted to move forward on purchasing an easement on the island to Minto-Brown Park. A Public Hearing on October 25th will guide the height and cost of the bridge - estimates range from $5.6M to $11.4M. Because of 18th and 19th century laws regulating river commerce - laws from a time when our river system was the interstate! - the Willamette River Queen and Coast Guard essentially determine the choices among which the City and public must choose.

More later when the hearing details and report are published.

(See yesterday's City Council note for links to the other reports.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

City Council, Oct 11th - Ferry and Liberty Streets need more than a Welcome Center

More than bicycling, walking is in on stage Monday at Council. But people who care about recreation and all forms of active transportation should be interested.

Most intriguing is Go Downtown's proposal to create a "welcome center" in the Liberty Parkade at 365 Ferry St.

As you can see from the map and streetview images, the Conference Center and Liberty Parkade straddle the parkway, a State Highway. The Parkade actually has planter barricades along the sidewalk to ward off cars that occasionally jump the curb as a result of taking the corner at excessive speeds.

This is an extremely unfriendly environment for people walking or bicycling. The multi-lane highways and arterials unfortunately isolate the Conference Center from downtown. They are moats.

Over the summer a business on this corner, and directly across the street from the Conference Center, closed. Tea Party/Tigress Bookshop left the Crystal Garden building for a site next to a bed and breakfast in Monmouth. The internet is killing independent bookstores, so this is not simply a story about a difficult location or other factors. Still, even with a curb extension, a bench, and planters out in front of the store, this stretch of Liberty is not pleasant. The lack of walk-by traffic must have hurt.

Just last week a new downtown group, the Salem Downtown Partnership, unveiled a conceptual plan for traffic calming and pedestrian medians for people who would like to walk more downtown. Note the large planter strip in the middle of Liberty, just one block north, between State and Court streets.

Drawing people from the hotel and conference center into the downtown core is a problem of getting people to walk just a block or two. A lack of information is not the problem! Travel Salem has a couple of kiosks in the hotel and conference center for the information.

The problem is more the aesthetic dimension of walking along state highways. Not fun. Without traffic calming and streetscape improvements, landing a "welcome center" across the street risks being just a cosmetic fix.

There's an opportunity here, but will Go Downtown and the City seize it?

Two Parks

Another item is almost $150,000 and approval for the Fairmount Park Master Plan. If you click on the map you will get a much larger version, and you can see that the "forest path" which creates a very useful walking connection to Minto-Brown park (many people dismount and walk their bikes), is slated for some improvements.

Speaking of Minto-Brown...Council will decide whether to purchase an easement for the proposed bridge between Riverfront and Minto-Brown parks. The consulting engineers will also give a report on bridge height (report not available on Friday). The easement would give the city maximum flexibility in case the high bridge (and longer landing strip) option is necessary (separate Urban Renewal report contains map). The discovery of "hazardous waste" gives parties an "out."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Heiser Farm Cyclocross today on Vulnerable Grand Island

Alas, the rain this morning makes riding out to Grand Island for the Heiser Farms Cyclocross Race considerably less appealing than last year! (Photo: Matt Howie from 2009)

Still, if you're in the mood for racing, head on out. Races start at 9:15 and continue through the afternoon. Maybe we'll get a break later in the day!

More soberly, there's a Yamhill County hearing in McMinnville on November 10th regarding an application for a 225 acre gravel quarry. The bottom land offers prime soil for farming, and several farmers - organic, transitional, and conventional - provide food to local farmers markets, restaurants, and grocery stores.

Here in Salem, Pitchfork and Crow sell at the Salem Saturday Market.

Visit the Protect Grand Island site to learn more about the gravel quarry and the effort to retain the land for feeding people.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Councilor Tesler Bikes to Work and Loves it

In the latest SESNA newsletter (p.4), Salem City Councilor Laura Tesler talks about starting to commute by bike, the personal benefits of calm and fitness, and the social benefits of neighborliness.
I got serious about reducing my personal natural resource impact and started riding my bike to work every day (and everywhere else practically). It started when I went to SESNA’s Earth Day celebration in the community garden and tied a pledge ribbon to a tree.

Not wanting to risk having bad karma, I bought a “commuter” bike and started riding. At first, 12 miles a day seemed a challenge but now it is a daily event. After the initial sore rump and rubbery legs, I actually like the 25 minute ride one way. Luckily, I have a shower at work so when I get to work I can shower and then I am bright of eye and sharp of tooth, ready for the day’s challenges. Riding is very calming to me and I almost approach a Zen-like state by the time I get where I am going—whether it is work, home—or the City Council.

Riding a bike through a neighborhood provides a different view. For one thing, you go slower so you can see the potted geraniums on porches. You see the small touches people are putting on their homes. You also realize that neighborhoods that once people said were “undesirable” are neat, tidy, and well taken care of.

You know who has kids as their toys are all scattered in the driveway. You see community gardens overflowing and homemade snap pea trellises. You see who has neighborhood watch stickers on their windows and who is having a garage sale.

Sometimes you see the one house that is not cared for. It seems so out of place next to everyone else’s house. With just a little effort, like mowing the lawn, picking up junk, or some paint, the property can be “spruced up” and not be such an outlier. Of course, in some cases, this is easier said than done.

I like to see people out walking. I like the “mom and pop” store open and people sitting outside eating and socializing. I once rode by a neighbor carrying a covered dish of food up a walkway to another neighbor’s house. I rode by a group of neighbors talking in front of their houses and on another occasion, one neighbor helping another fix a car problem. I see people out weeding, planting, painting and having a backyard BBQ. It’s everything that makes a neighborhood a community.

Take some time … take a walk or ride a bike through our neighborhood. Admire the flowers. Smell the neighbor’s roses. Ask the people across the street how their day was. Openly admire someone’s beautiful new windows or paint job. These simple things are what binds us together as a community and makes us better as a whole.
Thanks for sharing, Councilor Tesler! Ride on!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Deluxe at the Deaf School: Bike Parking for (the) Show

Almost certainly the most ambivalent moment on the Salem Green + Solar Tour yesterday took place at the Deaf School.

When we pulled up to the new Extreme Makeover Home Edition Dormitory, we oo-ed and ah-ed over the covered bike rack and dorm. They had been an extraordinary expression of community spirit, volunteering, and care. With that came a crazy media frenzy.

The parking looked fabulous.

But then we got closer to it.

The staple racks are huge! So huge, in fact, that they may not be fully usable. Here's a picture of a standard u-lock. Its inner diameter just fits the tube diameter - but that means the rack's tube takes up over half the space inside the lock! There may not be clearance for your bike's frame.

Even more jarring was the electricians tape over the bike's logos. They also had attached tagging. We realized these were prop bikes, donated and unused.

On the back side of the rack, we saw a full-on rain gutter and downspout!

We admired - and chuckled a little.

It was terrific to see a covered rack, visible, near the entry, and secure. At the same time, the parking complex was over-engineered and over-built to the point where was less useful than a simpler, less fancy, and less costly installation.

It raised the question: How much was for show?

The dorm's interior finishes raised the same question. Some of them didn't seem all that durable, and you had to wonder how dowdy the dorm might look after a decade - or even less - of kids living in it. Was, in fact, the building going to require a significant input of refurbishing energy and resources, well beyond normal maintenance, in the not-too-distant future. Just how sustainable is this building going to be under normal student wear and tear?

Coincidentally, the Oregon College of Art and Craft just got two new buildings on their campus. Brian Libby at Portland Architecture and Jeff Jahn at Port write about their design and execution.

The contrast is illuminating. One was an amazing community project, and cost only the hullaballoo of a TV show; the other two much, much more in absolute dollars. But what will be the difference in lifetime and life cycle costs?

No one knows the answers just now, but as Walker has asked in several posts over at LoveSalem, there are important questions about LEED, sustainability, and a project's life cycle. Green is more than just retrospective, more than just what it took to build something; green is also about the future, and what it takes to use and sustain something over the years, decades, and centuries. It seems like we are getting more and more of a handle on the first part, but still struggle with the longer, second part.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Group Rides Green + Solar Tour Saturday

Eleven of us took the Green + Solar Tour by bicycle on Saturday.

There was a good crowd at Pringle Creek Community for Nathan Good's talk at 9am.

We had great side conversations as we biked and also saw other houses and streetscape features we found interesting. It was very sociable: People don't know how much fun they are missing!

The place of planned communities was an interesting side theme. Pringle Creek, of course, is planned. So is McNary Estates, where we looked at a solar installation.

A golf course community is not the most obvious place to look for green practices - however attractive the putting green! - so this made the installation in many ways the most interesting of those on the tour.

Its owner, a retired judge, spent a significant amount of time talking about his journey through the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, and the eventual approval of the installation by the Architectural Committee. Part of the work was creating a process for future installations.

The group visited several other sites, and a couple of those are worth a separate discussion.

Much of the movement is still more about having - and consuming - "sustainable" stuff than doing things sustainably. Sustainable transportation is still off the radar. Most people drove, and the parking lot and side streets were littered with cars. The lack of Saturday bus service compounds the difficultities. Still, biking to the lecture and assembling carpools would be a good step! Fortunately the pricing is by car, not person, and this encourages full car loads.

Thanks to Jeff and Patrick for planning and leading the bike tour! It was a great start, and hopefully even more people will bike next year!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Broadway Commons offers Stumptown Coffee and First-Rate Bike Parking

After the Green + Solar Tour yesterday, some of us wanted to stop in at the new Broadway Commons Building.

CB|Two Architects had designed Waterplace and at the tour mentioned their participation in the Broadway Commons project - so naturally we wanted to check it out.

As we approached on Broadway from the south, we were naturally wondering how the bike parking would be.

It turned out to be a first-rate installation! As we neared the corner of Gaines and Broadway, its location was obvious. A patio complex with a graceful curving lawn and a fountain, led our eyes to the southeast corner entryway. And there under a heavy awning were five staple racks.

That should be the standard everywhere! Covered, in a visible and secure area, easily found. Nicely done!

And then it got even better.

Inside we found the Broadway Coffeehouse.

And not only were they serving Stumptown, but they were offering some single origin coffees! So we had a cup of Ethopian Mordecofe and Guatemala Finca el Injerto.

The barista knew his stuff and talked helpfully about the differences between the two coffees.

Salem's Latte has been serving Stumptown for quite a while, of course - they were first! - and Clockworks joined them. But this is the first made-to-order service, I think, for the single-origin coffees in Salem.

This end to the afternoon had some real wow-factor. The southern exposure for the commons portion of the building will make for terrific natural light, especially during winter. The building greets the side street and corner, rather than just the parking lot, and some careful thought's been given to place-making.

It's a lovely addition to Salem. This part of town is hopping!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Brings More Weekend Bike Fun than You Might Expect

[updated] With the end of reliable fair weather and the turn to fall, October usually promises a slow-down of bicycling activities. But there's more this month than you might expect! Here's a preview.

Salem Green + Solar Tour = Free Bike Tour

The Salem Green + Solar Tour is on Saturday, and it's free for people on bike! Architect Nathan Good gives a talk at 9am and a group bike tour leaves promptly at 10:15.

You'll check out the bioswale behind Waterplace and other great Salem green and solar installations!

Maybe the most anticipated - and the one that's got buzz even in the New York Times - is the first house on the West Coast built to the European Passiv Haus standard. Sarah and Stuart have joined us at Breakfast on Bikes sometimes, and it'll be great to see their finished house!

There's no better way to see sustainability in action than by bike! Meet at Painter's Hall at Pringle Creek Community for the lecture at 9am or departure at 10:15.

Intro to Smart Cycling

Saturday, October 2nd, Gary and the Salem Bicycle Club will also offer the final "Introduction to Smart Cycling" clinic for the summer.

If you know bicyclists who like to go to Minto, but aren't yet ready for the grocery store or work commute - this is the ride!

Meet from 10 am to 12 pm at the Wall of Water fountain on the south end of the Capitol Mall. The cherry tress provide pleasant shade for the outdoor class!

Gary Obery leads the ride. Please contact Gary at oberyfamily [at] if you have further questions. (Minimum age 12. Minors must be accompanied by a parent. Helmets required.)

Heiser Farm Cyclocross, October 9th

MyPeace Bike Clinic, October 16th

The Bicyclists - Playing Salem Film Festival: "Capturing the wandering spirit of those urban explorers who aren't adverse to taking their bikes out on rides through the countryside and sleeping under the stars, this wonderfully memorable film is deeply rooted in nature, community and human connection." Filmmakers Carl Jameson, Sharon Jameson, Paul Glazier, Elle Poindexter and Melissa Goad in attendance. Sunday, October 17th, 2:30pm at the Grand Theater. (See The Bicyclists website for even more info.)

Two-Wheel TerroRide, part of Culture Shock's 13 Days of Halloween. Meet at Clockworks Cafe at 2pm on Sunday, October 24th.

(If you know of more, let us know!)