Friday, February 27, 2009

One Year Old

For our first birthday, it was another cold, damp, and foggy morning. Folks reported fewer slick patches than last month, but just as much shivering once we stopped pedaling!

Conversation continued on how to improve the North-South connection between the Bush paths, parking lot, and Winter street.

Lots of florescent yellow.

For our "bicycle gothic" a legislative staffer shows us that you can wear a suit and bike at the same time!See you in March!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mayor Taylor Shares Bike Love at City Council

Last night at City Council (select stream of Feb 23, 2009 meeting here; it starts early, just before the 3 minute mark) Mayor Taylor showed off the City's new battery assist bicycle. She said
I had the honor of riding it and it is the smoothest riding bike I have ever been on. I'm totally in love with it.
She noted that it would "sure save a lot in gas" and that the the bicycle could be "revolutionary" for Salem.

Make sure during these tough budget times you let your City Councilor and the Mayor know that you support the bicycle revolution!

(Photo via Statesman-Journal)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Scenic Bikeways Committee Meets Wednesday

Alex Phillips, Oregon Parks & Recreation Bicycle Recreation Coordinator, sends this meeting announcement. The meetings are just starting, so mostly they're going over processes & procedures just now.
Oregon Scenic Bikeway Committee holds first meeting

The Oregon Scenic Bikeway Committee will meet for the first time Jan. 21 at the Travel Oregon offices, 670 Hawthorne Ave. SE, in Salem. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m.

The committee will recommend designating bikeways that bring bicyclists in contact with outstanding scenic, historic and natural settings. It will make its recommendations to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department director.

More information about the committee and the bikeways program can be obtained by calling Alex at 503-986-0631.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

B on B is One Year Old!

Yes, we've done it now for a year. When we started it we weren't sure how it would go over. But it's been great fun! Here's to year two!

[update - Check out what folks in Ft. Collins, CO are doing & thinking!]

Thanks should especially go to Robert, who first suggested we try something like this in Salem! And thanks to the rest of the regular crew, without whom it would not be possible: Debbie, Doug, & Gary. Joe at Bike Peddler and Troy & Graham at Santiam also provide invaluable assistance. Robin at Cherriots and Michael at South Salem Cycleworks have helped out with bike promo items.

Thanks also to our sponsors - please support them with your business!
Cascade Baking Company
Coffee House Cafe
LifeSource Natural Foods
Salem Bicycle Club
Willamette University Sustainability Council

This Friday, February 27th, between 7 and 9am, we'll be at the site of our Leap Day inaugural breakfast, Mission & Winter. Please join us!
View Larger Map

Last Call for Salem Budget Input; Commuter Rail to Salem

As is inescapable right now, all governments are in a budget crunch. The City of Salem is no different.

The City has been conducting "Community Budget Conversations" in which they solicit comments on what services and amenities are most important to residents.

The final conversation will be Tuesday, February 24th, 6pm, at McKay High School Commons. If you cannot make the meeting, you can also take a survey.

Information on the conversations is available here. You can go directly to the survey here. Be sure to mention support for bicycling!

[update - Portland Bureau of Transportation just released their proposed budget numbers - and bikes get whacked! So if it can happen in Platinum Portland, it's all the more likely to happen elsewhere. Make sure the City knows: Bikes belong!]

There's nothing on Monday's City Council Agenda that directly affects bicycles. The Legislative Committee, however, this week recommends that the City make House Bill 2408 a "high priority." HB 2408 would create a "Task Force on Extending Washington County Commuter Rail to Salem." How great would that be?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 6

Two new bills! The BTA introduced House Bill 2681, which adds green, yellow, and red bicycle lights to the list of official traffic controls.

They also introduced the Idoho Stop law, House Bill 2690, which will permit bicyclists to treat stop signs only as yield signs. Bicyclists will be able to conserve momentum by slowing, yielding as necessary to pedestrians and vehicles with the right-of-way, and then proceeding. For more see discussion here.

Old Business:
(For links to the bills see Week 2 update):
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
House Bill 2106 - Feb 19, passed the House with 59 votes.
House Bill 2120 - no change

Mayor Tayor Rides!

If you didn't see the Statesman yesterday, Friends of Two Bridges has a blurb on Mayor Taylor's bike ride.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cherriots Meetings and Other News

Last night City Council instructed staff to move forward with a small adjustment on the bicycle-free sidewalk zone. Hopefully I'll have a map later. The Statesman piece created lots of confusion - but happily Public Works stepped in with a map that showed the scope of the proposed changes. [updated with map. The sidewalk on Front to be opened is in yellow; the path under Commercial Liberty and through the Civic Center is in red.]

Over at Friends of Two Bridges, there's an announcement about Sanyo giving the City of Salem one of the first US hybrid electric bikes. Mayor Taylor will take one of the inaugural rides. Thursday, 12:30pm, at the Riverfront Park Pavilion.

Finally, LoveSalem has an extensive list of upcoming Cherriots meetings. The Town Hall meetings are:

  • Feb 19 Thu 6:30 – 8:30 PM West Salem Roth’s (1130 Wallace Rd NW)
  • Feb 25 Wed 6:30 – 8:30 PM Marion County Fire Station (300 Cordon Rd)
  • Mar 2 Mon 6:30 – 8:30 PM Leslie Middle School (3850 Pringle Rd SE)
  • Mar 3 Tue 6:30 – 8:30 PM McNary High School – Cafeteria (595 Chemawa Rd N)
Do check out the full list and make sure to attend. Cherriots is sick and needs everyone's help to make it better!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 5

Not a very exciting week for bikes! Perhaps it was the Sequicentennial...Anyway, no New Business.

In Old Business there was no significant change (for links to the bills see Week 2 update):
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
House Bill 2106 - As a result of the Feb 10 Work Session, Revenue Committee Recommends "Do Pass"
House Bill 2120 - no change

Friday, February 13, 2009

City Council to Consider Small Change in Downtown Sidewalks Ordinance

City Council will be meeting on Tuesday next week (rather than Monday), and on the agenda is a recommendation that
City Council direct staff to further support Vision 2020 by initiating a package of revisions to the Salem Revised Code to (a) allow bicycle travel to make critical connections at two locations in the core area...
This is a welcome surprise! We had not discussed this at the Downtown Vision 2020 meetings. The full document on the changes is available as a pdf here. The relevant portions on bicycles are posted here:

If you can email all of the City Councilors here. Or find your individual City Councillor and let him or her know you care about improving bicycle connections downtown. These proposed measures are small, and do not appear to be a prelude to more extensive sidewalk permission downtown, but they recognize that bicycling downtown is problematic.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Minto Island Bridge Meeting Tonight

A reminder from the City:
We're gearing up to have a community meeting regarding four design concepts for the proposed Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge on February 12 in the Salem Public Library's Anderson Rooms.

We'd love to have you stop in and learn more about what we're thinking re: the bridge project. We'll be having an open house from 5-7 PM.

Please join us if you can.

If you can't wait, you can learn more about the project and take the survey here.

Please feel free to forward this invitation to others. We're looking for as much input as possible regarding the four conceptual designs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BTA calls for Transportation Enhancement Funds in Stimulus Package

Thanks to calls from bicycle and pedestrian advocates like you, the Senate refused to hear an amendment that would have blocked any Economic Recovery Bill money from being spent on biking and walking infrastructure projects. Now we need EVERYONE'S HELP to make certain that there is strong support for Transportation Enhancements $ for biking and walking in the final bill!

Support Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects in the Economic Recovery Bill

The House and the Senate have each passed their own version of the Economic Recovery Bill, aimed at creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Both bills include billions for transportation infrastructure, but only the House bill includes funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the Transportation Enhancements program. The House bill includes approximately $1.35 billion for Transportation Enhancements of which 50-60% is traditionally spent on bicycle and pedestrian projects. The Senate bill does not explicitly include Transportation Enhancements, so it's unclear whether this funding will be in the final bill.

We need to make sure Transportation Enhancement funding is in the final bill.

This week there will be a conference committee where several members of the House and several members of the Senate will work together to reconcile the two bills. Conferees need to hear that Transportation Enhancements are important to stimulating the economy, creating green jobs, and moving us towards a sustainable future.

Please call your senators and representative and ask them to tell the Conferees to support Transportation Enhancements in the Economic Recovery bill. Tell them:

  • Bicycle and pedestrian projects create jobs at the same or better rate than highway projects.
  • These smaller projects can move quickly to hire local businesses and help local economies.
  • Providing safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian access gives families healthier and cheaper transportation options.
  • Improving sidewalks and bike lanes can make a downtown a destination further helping the local economy.
  • Better biking and walking options also help ensure greater energy independence, less pollution, and a healthier United States!

Please share this email alert with all bicyclists and pedestrians you can, and encourage them to join you in supporting biking and walking today! Thank you - together we will make a big difference!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 4

In New Business there were just a couple of small housekeeping details:
Senate Bill 420 redefines "electronic assisted bicycle"
House Bill 2554 slightly broadens the definition of "vulnerable roadway user" for operators of farm equipment

In Old Business there was no significant change (for links to the bills see Week 2 update):
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - Held Public Hearing, February 3
Senate Bill 292 - no change
House Bill 2106 - Work Session scheduled, February 10
House Bill 2120 - no change

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thanks Senior Officer Bob Owings!

On a web article the Statesman reports a sting operation to reduce bike theft!
Salem police made five arrests today during a special project implemented to cut down on bike thefts downtown.

The four-hour, “plainclothes operation” was organized by Senior Officer Bob Owings and was initiated because of a recent increase in complaints of bike thefts in the downtown core, said Sgt. Mike Johnson, lead of the department’s downtown enforcement team.
Statesman web article here.

Why not send a big Thank You to Officer Owings! Here's how.

Take the Go Downtown Survey on Shopping

Go Downtown and Vision 2020 have a survey on downtown shopping. One thing that's missing is a question about how you get downtown! Take the survey, tell them what you want, and find a way to mention "bicycles"! If the merchants know bicyclists are customers and will come downtown with improved bike facilities, they will more readily support bike infrastructure and amenities!

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), Autoist and Bike Foe

Over at Bikeportland, Jonathan has the story about an attempt to prohibit stimulus funds for any bicycle infrastructure. The stimulus package represents an opportunity to take bicycle infrastructure up a notch, and to move on weaning ourselves from foreign oil. But DeMint implicitly endorses the old story of bikes as playthings. This would be a disappointing compromise for the Senate to make.

[update - Huffington Post has Rep. Earl Blumenauer's response.]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vision 2020 Bike & Ped Group

The Salem Downtown Vision 2020 Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections Group meets on the first Wednesday of each month.

At the Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections meeting yesterday we had a wide ranging conversation about Commercial Street through downtown, making room for bikes at the bathrooms on the Capitol Mall, the nature of Urban Renewal Tax Increment Financing, and bike parking and other downtown amenities. We learned that City Council did approve the signage for the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.

We also talked about bike parking. Wouldn't it be great to see some covered bike parking downtown? Here's bike parking in Salem circa 1909 at Colonel J. Olmstead's Steam Laundry on South Liberty Street.

Here's some contemporary covered bike parking in Portland (photo: Fussganger). Note the See and Be Seen ad for adequate bike lighting! (More on Portland's campaign here.) Wouldn't it be great to see something like this in downtown Salem!

On March 31 from 5:00-7:00 PM there will be a Community Forum, "Celebrating Success," at the Salem Conference Center. Hopefully we'll get to see proposals on several of these things!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

City Council Meeting

City Council tonight has several interesting bike items buried in the consent agenda. First is the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway signage. They also will take up the stimulus package and selection criteria for the just-passed bond measure.

The Stimulus Package Priorities are mostly big road projects. They include:
Union Street Railroad Bridge connection to Glen Creek Road
Completing 12th Street Pedestrian Promenade at Mill
The total is about 1% of perhaps $70 Million worth of projects. It's nice to see two bike projects included in them, but they meet only the minimum spirit of the 1% bike bill requirement (though I don't know whether these would pass through the state highway fund and therefore be subject to that 1% requirement). Projects leveraged with the stimulus package could be a bold move forward! But this is mostly more of the same.

The City is also proposing selection criteria for individual projects in the "safety improvement categories" part of the recent bond measure. According to the summary
staff recommends that City Council approve the selection criteria contained in the report for identifying individual Streets and Bridges General Obligation Bond projects in the following safety improvement categories: Core Area Curb Extensions for Transit and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Access, Pedestrian Crossing and Neighborhood Traffic Calming Measures, Missing Sidewalks and Bicycle Lanes to Schools and Parks, and Railroad Crossing Safety Improvement Projects.
In the "sidewalks and bicycle lanes" section, they identified the following criteria:These look great.

But. The next criterion is to ask whether the project is "already adopted into the unfunded CIP, Salem TSP, Parks Master Plan, associated neighborhood plan, or other adopted study or plan? Is it currently supported by the affected neighborhood association, Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Salem-Keizer School District, or Salem-Keizer Transit District?

While it seems reasonable to ask for public support, the kind of institutionalized and formalized support the criterion cites (TSP, School District, etc) has been backward looking and has generally failed to catch up to bicycle engineering best practices and to the realities of peak oil and climate change.

We think the City should lead, not follow! This document represents progress, but isn't bold as we would like, and enforces a stance of following.