Saturday, March 28, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 11: The diff between 99 and 98%

No new business, as best as I can tell.

About increasing the allocation to 2% for Bike/Ped projects as required in the Bike Bill, the City of Salem had this official stance:
Currently, the city sets aside 1% of our State Highway Fund allocation for bike/pedestrian projects or maintenance. Increasing the amount to 2% would increase the set-aside from about $65,000 per year to $130,000. This is not a problem if our funding levels stay the same or get better, but could be a problem if General Fund support (W/WW Franchise fees) were to be reduced in any way. HB 2120 calls for the percentage to increase to 1.5%, which we would prefer.
In a hearing on Wednesday that discussed HB 2971, one of several bills that calls for the increase to 2%, Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) and Rep. Jim Weidner (R-Yamhill) asked about structuring the contribution so it was not dedicated to bike/ped projects but could be left to county or municipal discretion to serve whatever needs the community prioritized the highest.

Weidner also asked those who testified repeatedly about bicycle registration & licensing. Rep. Michael Schaufler (D-Happy Valley), who was actually one of the sponsors of HB 3008, said nothing, but Weidner kept returning to the issue.

Committee members mostly talked about bike/ped projects as "transportation enhancement," underscoring the notion that bicycles were frills, nice extras, but not core parts of the transportation infrastructure. There's little talk about climate change, peak oil, congestion relief, or of the prevailing assumption that the roads belong to exclusively autoists, with others patiently suffered.

Additionally, the League of Oregon Cities & League of Oregon Counties both expressed concern about stand-alone bills. They seem to think that portions with increased taxes or fees will get referred to voters, and they'd hate to see the spending side retained. They want everything bundled for up or down votes. So they want to see everything packaged as the Jobs and Transportation Act, HB 2120.

Old Business:
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
Senate Bill 635 - no change

House Bill 2106 - no change
House Bill 2120 - no change (but there must be more hearings scheduled)
House Bill 2681 - Work Session on March 25 postponed
House Bill 2690 - Work Session for some point in April, as I understand it - no details posted yet, however
House Bill 2902 - no change
House Bill 2946 - no change
House Bill 2971 - March 25 hearing held
House Bill 3008 - no change
House Bill 3137 - no change
House Bill 3164 - no change
House Bill 3399 - Hearing and Work Session scheduled for April 3.

Details on Public Hearing for HB 3399, the vehicular homicide bill:
Date: Friday-April 3
Time: 1:00 P.M.
Room: 357

Public Hearing and Work Session
HB 3271 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 3194 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 3295 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 2349 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 3399 FIRST PUBLIC HEARING - Creates crime of vehicular homicide.

Work Session
HB 2972 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 2968 (unrelated to bicycles)
HB 2554 Modifies definition of "vulnerable user of a public way." [this is a small housekeeping bill, and doesn't alter the bill in any significant way for bicyclists].

Staff respectfully requests that you submit 25 collated copies of written materials at the time of your testimony. Persons making presentations including the use of video, DVD, PowerPoint or overhead projection equipment are asked to contact committee staff 24 hours prior to the meeting. Any item on this agenda may be carried over to the next meeting at the discretion of the Chair.

Tripping Traffic Signals - How to Get the Green

As we're biking around the city we often hit traffic lights that don't seem very responsive. How do we trip the signal so we get a green?

The oldest layer of traffic light controllers are rectangular loops cut into the pavement. Generally it's safe to assume these are no longer working. If you regularly encounter intersections with only a square loop, it would be good to know.

A decade or so later, engineers started using circular loops cut into pavement. Anytime you see a circular loop and a square/rectangular loop, you can assume the circular one is active.

In some instances you will see a sign that looks like this. City Engineers generally place them where the loops are thought not to work effectively for bicycles.

This sign is newly placed at the intersection of Union and Front street, right where east-bound bicycle traffic off the new Union Street Railroad Bridge will emerge.

A solution for this intersection is the current iteration of traffic signal control: Traffic cameras, video cameras mounted over traffic light standards that feed into computer controllers.

The computers analyzing the image feed are programmed to recognize changes in "detection zones." Traffic engineers place detection zones both in auto traffic lanes and in bike lanes. The standard placement is just behind the crosswalk. In some instances with long, wide curves, or in other non-cookie-cutter intersections, the zones may be farther back, and are not always easy to predict. Buried in the City's website are a couple of still images of intersections with the zones marked out. These are pretty standard intersections, with few irregularities. One thing to note about the bicycle zones is that if you are up against the curb, especially if you clip out and rest your foot on the curb, you may be too far to the edge and out of the detection zone.

Here's a view of Liberty looking south at the intersection with Browning:

Here's a view of Liberty looking north at the intersection with Browning:

(The intersection of Liberty and Browning is ironic - not in a good way! - from a bicyclist's standpoint, of course, because there is no bike lane on Liberty from Browning north to Commercial. The detection zone in the bike lane on the south side [top picture] of the intersection is superfluous, since a bicyclist going north must take the lane, and a bicyclist turning right can do so after safely yielding and doesn't really need a light.)

It might be possible to develop a project to improve traffic light responsiveness to bicycles. If you would leave a comment about problematic intersections, we can tally them and look for patterns and try to fold improvements into existing projects. A new traffic camera and video feed currently costs around $8500. The city will weigh cost against impact, and demonstrating a pattern of complaints and problems will buttress the case for effective impact.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Emerging Consensus on Multi-Modal Transportation Systems?

I don't really know what this means. Portland Transport says "Hell freezes over." It's remarkable at the very least.

The Oregonian publishes an editorial co-written by a bunch of folks who are assumed to have divergent interests on transportation:
When it comes to addressing Oregon's challenges, one hears a lot more about the fight between entrenched opponents than the pacts forged by allies. Maybe it's because the conflict is a more intriguing story than the agreement. But this year, the more intriguing story is the agreement among a usually antagonistic range of groups that have lined up behind a new transportation package.

Not usually in lockstep when it comes to laying out a vision for Oregon's transportation system, 1000 Friends of Oregon, AAA Oregon/Idaho, Environment Oregon, the Oregon Business Association, the Oregon Environmental Council, the Oregon Trucking Association and the Port of Portland are aligning behind transportation solutions that will meet the transportation needs of all Oregonians while sustaining the economy and protecting the environment.
AAA says:
The transportation system is not just the highway and road system, and as a result it must be integrated with other modes such as transit, rail, bicycle and pedestrian uses if it is going to meet the needs of AAA's members.
The Oregon Trucking Association says:
that transportation investments that reduce discretionary passenger vehicle trips can help free up limited highway capacity for higher-value freight movement.
And the Oregon Business Association says:
Businesses across the state are suffering financial losses from congestion, and to attract new businesses and a skilled workforce, Oregon's cities and towns must be convenient and pleasant places to live and work. OBA strongly supports policies and funding that help Oregon's fast-growing communities provide a multitude of transportation options...
Hopefully this is part of the compromise and consensus that will build behind HB 2120 and will have ancillary benefits for some of the other bicycle legislation the BTA is working on.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Learn to Stretch - and Help the BTA!

Stretching and Self-Massage Techniques for Athletes

Taught by Debbie Boe, Massage Therapist and Yoga Instructor
Indigo Wellness Center, 3276 Commercial St SE Salem, OR
Saturday, March 28th 2009
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM Cost: $25.00

(Five dollars for each participant will be donated to the Bike Transportation Alliance)

Class size limited, pre-registration required
call Debbie at 503-990-5043
or email

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Homeless Youth Learn Bike Repair Skills; Need Donations

(Photo: Timothy J. Gonzalez, Statesman Journal)
In the Statesman today, Thelma Guerrero-Huston writes:
Like the spokes of a wheel, The Salvation Army's new bicycle repair program's benefits reach far and wide.

"Fixing bikes for little kids makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something," Breanna Sill said. "It makes me feel good about myself. It gives me confidence."

The 10-year-old lives with her family at The Salvation Army Shelter on Front Street NE in Salem.

She's one of the homeless children at the shelter who Kyle Gilmore had in mind when he created the program.

Gilmore supervises The Salvation Army's maintenance facility.

"I wanted to give the kids something constructive to do, (offer them) a skill they could learn that would help them develop a sense of responsibility," he said.

That aspect of the program appeals to Ginger Alden. She and her two children have been living at the shelter since July.

"This program is helping my kids to widen their education," she said. "It teaches them, while giving them something to do."

Bikes are donated by The Salvation Army, families and individuals. Some are unclaimed bicycles left at schools or at bus stops.

The innovative program gives kids ages 9 to 17 living at the shelter a shot at learning bike-repair skills in exchange for their own wheels.

On bike-repair days, children learn how to overhaul a bike, take its components apart and clean and replace them.

Under Gilmore's watchful eye, they adjust bike chains, remove and replace seats, patch punctured tire tubes and make sure wheels spin properly.

Refurbished bikes are given away free to needy individuals, including senior citizens.

As the youths master bike-repair skills, they learn confidence, respect and independence, Gilmore said.

"It's a good deal, a really, really good deal for the kids," he said. "They all want to be the one to turn the wrench."

Besides bicycles, other items needed include bike repair stands, helmets, knee pads, small tool boxes, and tools such as wrenches and screw drivers.

"We could use three-wheel bicycles for senior citizens," said Dan Reichman, a Salvation Army chaplain. "Now that there's no Saturday bus service, it's difficult for a lot of them to get around."
Bikes that are broken, in need of repair or no longer being used can be dropped off at The Salvation Army, 1887 Front St. NE, Salem.

They will be raising funds today during a car wash from 1:30 to 6 p.m. on The Salvation Army property on Front.

But instead of driving, consider making a donation!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 10: Stops & Yields

Another Whoo-boy week! This time it was the proposed bicycle yield law. As usual, Bikeportland has extensive coverage! Here's an article on the way it is appearing in the media. Here's liveblogging from the hearing on Wednesday. More thoughts on the media reception. And a story on its recovery and a scheduled work session.

Rep. Vicki Berger is one of the members of the Transportation Committee, and during the hearing she indicated she had some questions about the legislation. Consider contacting her by email ( or by phone (503-986-1420) if you support the bill.
Update - On Monday Rep. Berger will have the following schedule to meet with constituents!
Monmouth: 7:30 a.m., Rick's Place, 123 S. Main St.
Independence: 11:30 a.m., Independence Library, 175 Monmouth St.
South Salem: 2 p.m., Courthouse Athletic Club, 2795 River Road S.
West Salem: 5 p.m., Courthouse Athletic Club, 300 Glen Creek Road NW.
In New Business:
Working with the BTA, the widow of Tim O'Donnell, Mary, introduced House Bill 3399, legislation that would create the crime of "vehicular homicide."

Here's more on the initial press conference announcing the proposed legislation last summer.

Old Business:
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
Senate Bill 635 - no change

House Bill 2106 - no change
House Bill 2120 - no change (but there must be more hearings scheduled)
House Bill 2681 - Work Session, March 25
House Bill 2690 - Work Session for some point in April, as I understand it
House Bill 2902 - no change
House Bill 2946 - There was a Hearing on the 19th...I missed this.
House Bill 2971 - Hearing, March 25
House Bill 3008 - no change
House Bill 3137 - Referred to Transportation Committee
House Bill 3164 - Referred to Revenue Committee
House Bill 3399 - Referred to Ways and Means Committee; Hearing and Work Session scheduled for March 31 (details not yet available online).

Transportation Committee Hearing Details:
Date: Wednesday-March 25
Time: 1:00 P.M.
Room: HR D

Public Hearing
HB 2971 Increases allocation of State Highway Fund moneys for footpaths and bicycle trails.
HB 2817 (unrelated to bicycling)

Work Session
HB 2040 (unrelated to bicycling)
HB 2681 Adds green, yellow and red bicycle signals to list of traffic control devices.

Staff respectfully requests that you submit 25 collated copies of written materials at the time of your testimony. Persons making presentations including the use of video, DVD, PowerPoint or overhead projection equipment are asked to contact committee staff 24 hours prior to the meeting.

City Council on Monday; Median at 17th & Chemeketa

Lots of bikey activity at City Council this Monday!

Over at Friends of Two Bridges they have a note about City Council on Monday and the Proposed Minto Island Bike and Pedestrian Bridge.

Also on the City Council docket are three Resolutions supporting the TGM grant applications. The Safe Routes to School application, the Downtown Vision 2020 Bike/Ped application, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Elements of the TSP application.

All this bikey language is great to see! Consider coming to council to show your support.

In other city news, cones have gone up in the northbound turn lane at 17th & Chemeketa. This is a prelude to a pedestrian median and crossing. Bike by it, and see how it works for you, especially when you are going E-W on Chemeketa. Does it help with safety and/or ease of crossing? And if you're out walking, try that too!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome to Spring Breakfast

The March breakfast is in a week! Please join us and fellow bicyclists!

On Friday, March 27th, Breakfast on Bikes will be at 12th & Chemeketa on the Promenade just east of the railroad tracks. We'll have free coffee, pastries, and fruit for bicyclists between 7am and 9am.

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

View Larger Map

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Latest Round of Stimulus Funds

Yesterday the Oregon Transportation Commission met and designated projects for the latest round of stimulus funds. There are no bike/ped projects in the Salem area, unfortunately, but about 7% of the $101 million did got to bike/ped projects statewide.

In an Oregonian article, Dylan Rivera quotes Doug Tindall, an ODOT deputy director:
ODOT officials said they achieved a better balance between mass transit and highway spending than perhaps any other state in the nation. Railroad officials have told ODOT that they haven't heard of any other state offering stimulus transportation money for rail and other non-highway projects.

"To my knowledge, we're the only state in the nation that has opened up this sort of opportunity," said Doug Tindall.

Bikeportland shows a terrific pie chart of the distribution by project type.

Here's a pdf of the spreadsheet with each project, project type, geographic distribution, and dollar amount.

There were many more proposed projects than funds to complete them. One report suggested a 5:1 ratio of proposed to funded projects. So for bike/ped, transit, and rail together to get about 28% of the funds looks on the surface like substantive progress.

[update follows]

In a sidebar to the Statesman article, the paper notes
Now it's Salem-Keizer's turn to decide how the region will spend its own $6 million from the federal economic-recovery plan for road and transit projects.

The decision is scheduled by the policy committee of the Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Study Metropolitan Planning Organization at noon Tuesday at 109 High St. SE, Salem. Salem City Councilor Dan Clem leads the committee.

Among the 17 projects proposed are a bicycle and pedestrian path by Wallace Marine Park in West Salem and a signal replacement and sidewalk engineering for Chicago Street in Turner.
The article also quotes Bob Stacy on the rail-transit-bike/ped proportions:
Bob Stacey, the executive director of the land-use watchdog group 1000 Friends of Oregon, said the slowdown allowed for some alternatives to highway projects to move forward — but not enough to suit him.

Of 93 bicycle/pedestrian and transit projects submitted at a total of $60 million, 27 were approved at a total of $14.6 million.

"We're not going to have this infusion of flexible federal funds of this magnitude — twice the size of an ordinary appropriation — for a long time to come," Stacey said. "It was a chance missed to provide more balance to Oregon's transportation system."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Want to be a Better Biker?

Ever wondered how to fix a flat? How best to ride safely in traffic? What common mistakes do new bicyclists make?

Wonder no longer! Two area residents, Robert Fox and Gary Obery have teamed to offer Salem's first intensive effective cycling classes, Bicycle Traffic Skills 101. The League of American Bicyclists offers a curriculum for a full day introductory course on bicycling.

Robert and Gary are League Certified Instructors, having completed significant coursework. Robert (with tire) is Salem's longtime BTA Bicycle Safety Education instructor, and Gary (at whiteboard) is a longtime bike commuter and traffic

A few of us took the course this past weekend. After the morning's classwork, we biked to a parking lot and practiced our emergency stopping skills, quick turns to evade a right-hook, rock dodging, and other skills many of us had learned informally, but had never actually practiced. We also discussed lane positioning at tricky intersections, and the best balance between being visible to cars and staying out of harm's way (values that often lead to the same decision, but not always).

The next Bicycle Traffic Skills 101 class will be Saturday, April 11th. Class runs 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. It costs $45 per person. Contact Robert Fox ( or Gary Obery ( to reserve your place or for more information.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 9: The Bike Tax

Whoo-boy! House Bill 3008 has got the lion's share of attention this week. The most compelling analysis is likely OSU Economics Professor Patrick Emerson. He writes
Perhaps the stupidest public policy idea I have ever heard of is the proposed bike tax. It is not worth talking about the proposal itself as it is not going anywhere and is, as I think I mentioned, stupid. But what is interesting to me is that, in fact, the appropriate public policy is to subsidize bikes, not tax them.
Many of the arguments have a weird airlessness as if no time had passed. The New York Times reported in 1898 that League of American Wheelmen president Isaac B. Potter considered bicycle taxes to fund roads "just as sensible as to tax boots and shoes for wearing the sidewalks, and he called it a tax on the only kind of vehicle that does no injury whatever to the roads." Yes, over a century ago this was a hot issue! More things change, the more they stay the same?...

The BTA also came out strongly against the tax. Here's their statement on Bikeportland.

Bikeportland has extensive coverage here, and here, and an interview with Rep. Krieger here. He'll tag and collect ongoing stories here.

The Oregonian's right-leaning columnist, Elizabeth Hovde writes
Cyclists are part of the transportation solution, not part of the problem. Suggesting that people who commute by bike aren't paying their fair share in Oregon is ridiculous.
Salem residents should remember they just passed a $100 million bond measure, paid by property taxes. Motor vehicle user fees, whether gas taxes, licensing, or registration, don't come close to paying the full cost of the roads. Bicyclists pay for roads through property taxes they pay directly on the houses they own, or through rents and costs of goods passed on by merchants. Bicyclists often own cars. And because of the externalities Emerson points out, bicyclists actually subsidize auto drivers. The interstate highways system alone is a massive subsidy for autoists! BTA Board Member Doug Parrow offers a more extensive analysis here.

[update - Kenji from OBRA also posted a nice letter to his legislators.]

In New Business:
House Bill 2946 - Requires Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission to develop better siting rules and land use planning for public schools, and would promote "walking and bicycling."

House Bill 3137 comes out of the Committee on Transportation. It increases the bicycle allocation from 1% to 2% and also prioritizes transportation funding in order of 1) Repair and Maintenance of existing infrastructure, 2) demand management, 3)modernizing and/or widening, 4) new capacity. New capacity is last! Repair and more efficient use of existing capacity is first! This looks reasonable.

House Bill 3164 - "Establishes Transportation Choices Fund...intended to increase numbers of Oregon employees who commute via mass transit, bicycle or walking."

Old Business:
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
Senate Bill 635 - no change
House Bill 2106 - no change
House Bill 2120 - no change (but there must be more hearings scheduled)
House Bill 2681 - Hearing, March 18
House Bill 2690 - It's now on the official schedule for a hearing on March 18th. (Bikeportland's note on the hearing.)
House Bill 2902 - no change
House Bill 2946 - referred to Land Use Committee
House Bill 2971 - Hearing, March 18
House Bill 3008 - referred to Ways and Means Committee

Transportation Committee Hearing Details:
Date: Wednesday-March 18
Time: 1:00 P.M.
Room: HR D

HB 2681 - FIRST PUBLIC HEARING - Adds green, yellow and red bicycle signals to list of traffic control devices.
HB 2690 - FIRST PUBLIC HEARING - Permits person operating bicycle to enter intersection with specified traffic control device without stopping, provided that person operating bicycle slows to safe speed and yields right of way to traffic or pedestrians.
HB 2971 - FIRST PUBLIC HEARING - Increases allocation of State Highway Fund moneys for footpaths and bicycle trails.

Staff respectfully requests that you submit 25 collated copies of written materials at the time of your testimony. Persons making presentations including the use of video, DVD, PowerPoint or overhead projection equipment are asked to contact committee staff 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Want More Inspiration? National Bike Summit and the Dutch!

The National Bike Summit is going on. Right now! Reports are that a record 550 bicycle activists are in Washington DC to work on better biking. Check out Bikeportland's amazing coverage! Secretary of Transportation LaHood pledges the DOT will be a "full partner" and work towards "livable communities."

For those of us who can't make it, the Netherlands just released a new edition of a bicycling pamphlet.

Tineke Huizinga, State Secretary of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, writes in the preface to the substantial pamphlet, Cycling in the Netherlands 2009:
‘I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike’. Queen’s ‘Bicycle race’ could easily be the Dutch national anthem. That’s how much and how often we use our bicycles.

Why? Because cycling means arriving at work, school or the gym in a more alert frame of mind, feeling creative and positive. So I hope that this brochure will help boost the number of kilometres cycled worldwide.

The Netherlands has a great cycling reputation, but cycling is currently trendy all over the world. In many countries, the bicycle is becoming more and more important, in traffic as well as in transport policy.

Here are some very good reasons why:
One: it improves the flow of traffic in towns. The bicycle does not take up much room, either on the road or when parked and travels flexibly from door to door. The bicycle oils the wheels of the municipal traffic system.

Two: cycling and walking are by far the most sustainable way of getting around. No emissions, no noise.

Three: cycling is healthy, making it easy to get your vital daily exercise. If you cycle, you not only combat obesity, you also help prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It makes people fitter and more alert.

Other countries regularly ask the Netherlands to help them shape their own bicycle policy. We welcome such requests, because we want to contribute to a more sustainable, cleaner, healthier and more efficient transport system. With this brochure, for example, which introduces you to cycling in the Netherlands.

After the successful last edition, we now present the new, updated edition. We also invite you to visit the website or where you will find lots of information about cycling in the Netherlands and experiences in other countries, presented in a clear and well organised way.

Keep cycling!
Here's a link to the pdf.

It's great to see two important transportation leaders talk about bicycling as real rather than second-class transportation. And gotta love the Queen reference!

(h/t - Tom Vanderbilt's How We Drive)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

City Staff Enjoy Alice Awards

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/Bikeportland.)
How inspiring is it to look out over a ballroom filled with 750 people who care passionately about bicycling?

Saturday night Mayor Janet Taylor and the City of Salem won an Alice for the Union Street Railroad Bridge project and the City's other great bicycling progress. It was great to see Mayor Taylor at the podium talking about bicycling in Salem. I think the enthusiasm and numbers inspired everyone.

(from left) Union St. RR Bridge Project Manager Todd Klocke, Director of Urban Development Rick Scott, City Manager Linda Norris, Mayor Janet Taylor, and BTA Board Member Doug Parrow show off the Alice B. Toeclips award.

A Statesman article on Sunday noted:
Despite the awards, Taylor said she recognizes the need to make Salem safer for bikes. Two bicyclists were recently struck by cars in Salem. One bicyclist died.

"We're not perfect," she said, "but we are working very hard to get to a place where you can have some really safe experiences riding your bike."
The Mayor and the City of Salem joined four other winners. Portland Police Officer Robert Pickett, Eugene Safe Routes to School Coordinator Shane Rhodes, The Rose Quarter Transit Center (Trimet) Bike Lane Team, and site developer Wyatt Baldwin.

The BTA has a wrap here. And Bikeportland has a wrap here. Jonathan also posted a full suite of photos here. You can read the BTA profile of Mayor Taylor here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

City Council Moves Forward on TGM Grants; Shows Special Interest in Safe Routes

A City Council this evening Council voted to move forward with the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management grant applications!

The three are: A downtown circulation plan,
an update of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Elements of the Transportation System Plan,
and development of a district-wide Safe Routes to Schools plan.

The items were on the consent calendar, but Councilor Clem pulled the Safe Routes proposal so that Julie Yip, the ODOT program manager, could speak to the Safe Routes program generally. Councilors seemed eager and the Mayor later remarked on the program with enthusiasm.

Not surprisingly, of the three grants, the opportunity to help kids was the most attractive!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mayor Taylor and the City win an Alice!

Last night at the BTA Alice Awards, Mayor Taylor and the City of Salem won for the Union Street Railroad Bridge and all the other great bicycling progress going on here! Later today or Monday we'll have more on the award, maybe some photos, bikeportland's article, and other award winners. It was a great night and the winners were all just amazing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

City Council to vote on TGM Grant Applications

The deadline for Oregon Transportation and Growth Management grant applications is coming up on March 13th!

The City has plans to apply for three! One is a downtown circulation plan, a second is to update the Bicycle and Pedestrian Elements of the Transportation System Plan, and a third is to develop a Safe Routes to Schools plan. All are good, but especially good are the second two, the updated Bicycle and Pedestrian parts of the TSP and the Safe Routes plan.

On Monday, City Council will advise Public Works whether to move forward on the final submissions. Since this is grant money to fund what otherwise at present is not funded, opposition is not expected. Still, it's always good to let your councilor know you value bicycling! Find your councilor here and let him or her know you care!

Also it's rumored that CITY (Chickens in the Yard) will be on council agenda again. Even if you have no interest in chickens, you should be following this because what's good for chickens is good for bicyclists - and visa versa. Many of the same values drive both causes. Raising chickens or riding a bike is the same kind of crazy urban nonconformism of which we need more!

Legislative Update - Week 8

Lots of bike news in the Legislature this week!

In New Business, Representatives ESQUIVEL, KRIEGER, GARRARD, and SCHAUFLER introduced House Bill 3008, a "bicycle registration and licensing system" with an initial fee of $54. See Oregonian bicyclist and lead political columnist, Jeff Mapes, thoughts here. Jonathan Maus at Bikeportland interviews Rep. Krieger here and his initial coverage here.

Also, in a move that duplicates Senate Bill 292, the BTA introduced House Bill 2971, which increases funding for the Bicycle and Pedestrian projects from 1% to 2% of the State Highway Fund.

House Bill 2902 parallels Senate Bill 635 in establishing a "nonmotorized vehicle transportation fund."

Old Business:
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
Senate Bill 635 - no change
House Bill 2106 - Now in the Senate Finance and Revenue committee.
House Bill 2120 - Held hearings this past week; more to come. This is a big and important bill, and it will get lots of attention. Both the OLCV and 1000 Friends have sent out requests for letters in support of the green pieces, including bicycle infrastructure. In the next few days we'll hope to have information on the hearings already completed.
House Bill 2681 - no change
House Bill 2690 - Though it's not on the official calendar, bikeportland reports that a hearing is scheduled for March 18.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bicyclist Perishes

Cars hit two bicyclists this week, and one of the bicyclists has died.

On Tuesday the Statesman had an update on the bicyclists involved in crashes on Monday.
One of the men critically injured in bicycle and car crashes reported at the same time Monday has died, hospital officials said Tuesday.

Anthony Manning, 44, was critically injured when he was struck by a Kia van headed west on State Street near the Interstate 5 overpass at about 1 p.m., Salem police spokesman Lt. Dave Okada said.

He died Tuesday at Salem Hospital, said Julie Howard, spokeswoman for the hospital.

Also injured in a separate crash on Front Street NE was Ivan Koba, 74, who was struck by a Jeep SUV while trying to cross the street, Okada said.

Koba was flown by helicopter to Oregon Health and Science University where he remained in critical condition Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Here's the link to Tuesday's article reporting the crashes.

According to a separate article, "Neither of the drivers or passengers involved in the crashes were injured or cited, Okada said."

It is rarely possible to draw accurate inferences from news articles, as there is almost always a presumption of "automotive competence" - the idea that drivers are nearly always acting reasonably and bicyclists actually really don't belong on the road.

But no matter who is at fault, bicycles and pedestrians are always far more vulnerable users of the roadways than are drivers and passengers who enjoy airbags and steel. We are always at a disadvantage. Moreover, we live in a society that accepts between 40,000 and 50,000 automobile crash-related deaths a year as the ostensibly reasonable cost of using the roads.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Mr. Anthony Manning.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Legislative Update - Week 7

In New Business, Senators MONROE, ATKINSON, BURDICK, MORSE, PROZANSKI, and TELFER, introduced the a bill to establish the "Nonmotorized Vehicle Transportation Fund," Senate Bill 635, which would fund bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and work towards making nonmotorized transportation a first-class citizen like motorized transportation.
Old Business:
Senate Bill 267 - no change
Senate Bill 276 - no change
Senate Bill 291 - no change
Senate Bill 292 - no change
House Bill 2106 - Now in the Senate Finance and Revenue committee
House Bill 2120 - Hearings scheduled for the 2nd and 4th of March
House Bill 2681 - no change
House Bill 2690 - no change

Details on Hearings for HB 2120, Governor Kulongoski's "Jobs and Transportation Act":
Date: Monday-March 2 and Wednesday-March 4
Time: 1:00 P.M., both days
Room: HR D, both days

The committee will hear from invited speakers only.

On Monday the speakers will be:
Matthew Garrett - Director, Oregon Department of Transportation
Chris Warner, Hans Bernard - Governor's Office

On Wednesday, the speakers will be representatives from "stakeholder groups," whom I believe include the BTA.