Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Green Home Tour and Robert Moses Highway Plan

Here's a couple of happier notes - anodyne and necessary after the dismal council decision on Monday.

It's time again for the Willamette Valley Green + Solar Home Tour! The best part? Rational pricing! Bikes are free.
Saturday October 3rd, 2009, 9am-4pm

Willamette Valley Green+Solar Home Tour

Visit with homeowners, green builders, contractors and architects that have incorporated green and solar techniques & technologies into new and newly remodeled homes around Salem. Check out a 1,500sqft greenroof, a German Passive Haus certified home under construction, and a solar hot water system that provides hot water year round. For more information, visit the Pringle Creek Events Calendar.

Tour starts at Painter's Hall
Pringle Creek Community
1831 Village Center Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302

Buy your ticket that day of event.
Cost: $15 per car
-- carpooling encouraged. Bicyclists free!

And for some history that informs our current situation, over at The Mercury, Sarah Mirk has posted links to Robert Moses' highway plan for Portland. Fortunately, most of it didn't get built. For proponents of a new highway-style bridge over the Willamette it should be required reading. Perhaps they should also read Wrestling with Moses. We need us some Jane right now.

Update: Bob tells us the origin of the report!
A colleague discovered a well preserved copy in a Lincoln City bookstore a couple of years back and graciously agreed to let me make a copy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

State Street at Carousel to Close

City Council voted Monday night, 7-1 (Tesler opposing), to close State Street at the Carousel.

Update:Over at SHINE, they've got a nicer map than the one the city published, so here's a version with notes.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Closing State Street Crossing, Part II

As we said in Part I, the proposal to close Riverfront Park at State Street is bad because,
In place of three direct connections, there would now be two: Union, which is difficult, and Court, which doesn't work so well for bicycles. The direct and intuitive connection at State Street would be replaced by a non-intuitive round-about way that zigs and zags, and requires bicyclists to use the sidewalks.
The proposal is about diminishing access rather than improving access.

There are two parallel barriers between downtown and the park: the highway of Front street bypass and the railroad line. Currently there are three crossings of each, and the crossings are directly coupled. Under the proposal, there will be three RR crossings, but only two front street crossings. This effectively makes only two crossings.

There are four principal reasons the proposal harms the Park and the Public:

1. Currently there are three direct links to Riverfront Park, the Carousel, and the Union Street Railroad Bridge. The Boise Proposal reduces this to two direct links.

2. The Boise Proposal inconveniences Pedestrians and Bicyclists - all other park users except motorists - in order to benefit motorists.

3. The Boise Proposal is not consistent with higher-level goals contained in the Downtown Vision 2020 Action Plan or the Rivercrossing Alternative Modes Study.

4. Finally, the Boise Proposal represents private development benefiting at the cost of Public access and a Public space.

Currently there are three direct links to Riverfront Park, the Carousel, and the Union Street Railroad Bridge. The Boise Proposal reduces this to two direct links.

The Union Street connection is nearly impossible, especially at Commercial Street. Here's a detailed analysis of it. Until Union Street connections are improved, especially at Front, Commercial, and Liberty, and connections with Union at High, Church, and Winter, the proposal to close State street eliminates the most direct connection to the Union Street Railroad Bridge.

The connections at Church street are better than at Union, but are oriented towards pedestrians not bicyclists.

About Court street, one experienced bicycle commuter writes,
When I cross the railroad bridge westbound, I always use the State street park entrance, as I can cross Front street in one signal cycle. Using Court appears to require waiting through two (long) cycles - when one side of the crossing is green, the other side appears to be red. Not to mention navigating around posts and such in a facility designed for pedestrians (only?). I've never had the patience to try it. I simply can't imagine exiting the park at Court - after a block, the street is one-way against me.

Closing the State St. park entrance would probably mean I'll use the railroad bridge far less; there wouldn't be a reasonably convenient (and prompt) access for bikes from downtown.
The Court Street entry funnels bicyclists onto the sidewalk and into the crosswalks. Unlike at State Street, where there is only one crosswalk, at Court there are two. However, the pedestrian median in between the two directions of Front enforces tight 90 degree turns in a space shared with pedestrians and requires crossing each direction of traffic in a separate stage - two signal cycles are indeed required.

Why is this so bad? In some ways it is not bad. A significant number of bicyclists do in fact use this entry into the park and for access to the Union Street Bridge. But bicyclists are vehicles under Oregon law and deserve to be able to use the roads. Traffic solutions should be making it easier for bicyclists to use the roads, not eliminating them from the roads. Moreover, and we'll discuss this in more detail later, According to the Oregon Bicyclist Manual, "In general you [a bicyclist] shouldn't ride on sidewalks. Many crashes between bikes and cars occur on sidewalks, especially when bicyclists ride against the flow of car traffic."

Traffic solutions that force bicyclists to use crosswalks and sidewalks are poor work-arounds that too often compromise the safety of all road users.

State Street is the only direct and functional outbound connection with the Park and the Union Street Railroad Bridge. It is also the most functional inbound connection - though because of the one-way grid is not direct.

The Boise Proposal inconveniences Pedestrians and Bicyclists - all other park users except motorists - in order to benefit motorists.

The City's proposal creates a dead-end at State Street. It increases out of direction travel for pedestrians, bicyclists, and even cars.

It takes a direct and intuitive connection and makes it indirect and non-intuitive. Signs must do the work of natural inclination.

Many people have said that bicyclists can use the sidewalk to reach the park, and in fact there is a proposal to amend City Code to permit bicycling on the sidewalk at Front Street. At the time, this was pitched as a way to increase options. Now, however, it appears this this is part of the proposal to close the State Street crossing, and will become the only way for bicyclists to cross Front and use the new entry.

Requiring sidewalk travel for bicycles is unnecessary and is not something the City should be encouraging. Sidewalk travel for bicyclists should never be mandatory; it is instead an option for those who don't yet feel confident on the roadway.

Again from the Oregon Bicyclist Manual:

Finally, we saw the language contained in the City's Rail Application to ODOT:
Other than the inconvenience of pedestrians having to travel out of direction to the new southern entrance, the proposed crossing relocation is safer and can facilitate improved traffic access into the southern end of Riverfront Park. [emphasis added]

The State Street entry is also the natural terminus for a walking and bicycling boulevard. As Mary Lou Zeek observed in the Statesman,
As a State Street merchant, we have invested money and time in trying to advertise and brand our street from the Capitol to the Carousel, by pointing visitors to the Carousel and the park,"she said. "We, the merchants, are the best advertisers for downtown Salem.
The Feet follow the Eyes, and looking west on State street, the vanishing point on which the eyes rest, the focus at the end of the vista, is the Carousel. It is attractive and obvious. It should not become a dead-end.

The Boise Proposal is not consistent with higher-level goals contained in the Downtown Vision 2020 Action Plan or the Rivercrossing Alternative Modes Study.

The Vision 2020 Action Plan contains these projects:
14. Enhance pedestrian friendly, clean and attractive sidewalks and streetscape
19. Develop better connections between East and West Salem
21. Improve bicycle facilities; add more bike lanes and pedestrian bike paths
And contains these goals:
Expand Options to Get About the City Center
Improve Connections to Parks, Creek and River
The Boise Proposal fails to meet these goals.

The Rivercrossing Alternative Modes Study, ironically, will be presenting to City Council just before the hearing tonight. The study
is looking at ways to decrease single-occupancy trips by offering different ways to cross the existing bridges, or any new bridges that develop out of the Salem River Crossing project.
One of its key recommendations is to create better connections to the Union Street Railroad Bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians. Until the connections across Front, Commercial, and Liberty are improved, Union Street itself is a barrier, and State Street a major connection to the bridge. Closing State Street is not consistent with this, either.

The Boise Project should make biking and walking reasonable choices - it should encourage them. It should be a centerpiece of sustainable development. Facing an outbound connection that forces you right or left on busy Front street does not encourage biking or walking as a direct link to downtown. The proposal makes it more likely people with drive short distances to cross Front Street to reach downtown.

About connectivity another bicyclist writes:
I think the bigger issue is pedestrian connectivity between downtown and the Riverfront. The proposal to close this access seems to greatly favor vehicle access to the Boise development over pedestrian access between the Riverfront and downtown. A high level of pedestrian access between downtown and the park is key to what this park is all about - it's a downtown park. The park should be easily accessible to as much as downtown as possible.
The proposal also hampers connectivity to the Union Street Railroad Bridge, and makes travel by other than single-occupant vehicles more rather than less likely.

Finally, the Boise Proposal represents private development benefiting at the cost of Public access and a Public space.

Harming Riverfront Park and the Union Street Railroad Bridge is an indirect subsidy for the Boise Project. This is not right.

Front Street and the Railroad (not to mention Commercial and Liberty) are formidable structural barriers between the Riverfront Park (with the Carousel and the Union Street Railroad Bridge). An appropriate solution to developing the Boise Project will reduce the barriers rather than increase them. Only reducing barriers will create new value for Park, Bridge, and new development.

City Council should reject the proposal and send the team back to the drawing board.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Closing State Street at the Carousel is Bad for Pedestrians and Bicyclists, Part I

Other than the inconvenience of pedestrians having to travel out of direction to the new southern entrance, the proposed crossing relocation is safer and can facilitate improved traffic access into the southern end of Riverfront Park. [emphasis added]
When it comes down to it, there are only two things you need to know about the proposal to close the State Street entry to the Carousel and Riverfront Park: The word "bicycle" doesn't appear in the analysis in any meaningful way (perhaps not at all, but I couldn't do a text search), and the passage makes clear how the City is prioritizing pedestrians.

The proposal is all about cars and shunting traffic through the new development.

Let's take a look at it in more detail. (This critique will focus on the staff report; part II will focus on a more general analysis of connectivity between Riverfront Park and Downtown.)

Here's the general project description in the City application to ODOT (p.11):

Here are the project "benefits" (pp.11-12):

And finally, the map (comments indicated by "note:" are added here):

The consultant's recommendation is somewhat different:

Nevertheless, it still poses problems for pedestrians and bicyclists:

In an email Mark Bektel, Parks and Transportation Services Manager, offered clarification on the change from Consultant to City proposal:
It is unlikely that ODOT Highway Division (Front Street Bypass is a State Highway) will approve an at-grade pedestrian crosswalk to cross Front Street Bypass at the new street location. The new street intersection is on the outside of the curve and is close enough to the signalized intersection of Commercial and Trade Street that the traffic will back up to or through that location during peak travel hours. Pedestrians will have to cross the Front Street Bypass at Commercial Street, State Street, Court Street and Union Street to get to the Park or the new redevelopment. There is also planned an undercrossing of the Commercial Street bridge over Pringle Creek that will connect the City Hall Mirror Pond/Mill Race trail with the new redevelopment and then along the newly daylighted creek to access Riverfront Park.
Interestingly, the Consultant, and in turn the City, never investigated the possibility of closing the Court Street crossing. Here's the Table of Contents from the Consultant's report. The only thing investigated at Court was an over/undercrossing. On the surface, it appears the deck was stacked in favor of closing State Street.

The one sentence about pedestrian improvements in the Consultant report is vague. The main benefit would seem to be routing pedestrians into the Boise project in order to channelize foot traffic towards those businesses!

It is clear that maintaining direct connections for bicyclists and pedestrians is the lowest priority for the City in this proposal and project. Boise could be a showpiece of sustainable design, something that emphasizes choice in transportation, but instead it is more of the same. It's all about cars and driving and long queues, and further separating the citizens of Salem from their Parks. In place of three direct connections, there would now be two: Union, which is difficult, and Court, which doesn't work so well for bicycles. The direct and intuitive connection at State Street would be replaced by a non-intuitive round-about way that zigs and zags, and requires bicyclists to use the sidewalks. It is about diminishing access.

In Part II, we'll look at the problem of connectivity, the ways bicyclists use the Court street and State street entries, and the existing siting of the Carousel and its relation to State street and downtown.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Three Bits of Good Bike News! Eneloops, 17th & Market, and State Parking

Salem scoops Interbike!

Remember the Mayor's ride on the Eneloop? (And at City Council here.) Well, here are the Eneloop's in action on daily business! What, two you ask? Yes, Willamette University also has one. City staff and Willamette University staff rode to a lunch meeting today instead of driving. How great is that!

Sanyo launched the bike yesterday at the big national trade show Interbike. But Salem's been using them for months already!

In another piece of good bike news, the work at 17th and Market NE is almost complete, and the missing chunk of bike lane at the intersection is now appearing! This is great to see.

This image is almost one block south of the intersection looking north.

And this view is just north of the intersection looking north and the transition to the narrower roadway.

Thank you Kevin & Julie and everyone else at the City!

Finally, a follow-up to the mid-July meeting with the Department of Administrative Services on bike parking on the Capitol Mall. Linda Penick, who is managing the process, writes that after the meeting she was:
going to start replacing the "wheel benders" in the mall area and continue to phase out other unacceptable bike racks. So that is what I have done. I ordered 45 new bike racks (several weeks ago - shortly after our meeting) and should have them any day. The company said six to eight weeks for delivery. So as soon as we receive the racks, O&M staff will be installing them. I am starting at Revenue Building and then we will work my way around the area based on the map targeting the unacceptable rack locations we discussed at the meeting.
This is terrific progress in improving bike parking at State offices!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Crack in the Kroc - Updated

All this week we'll be reading praise and glory for the Kroc Center. It's a gem, a show piece, a feather in the city's cap. The effort that went into winning the center and into fund-raising is just amazing. Nothing can diminish that.

But the project's not done yet! There's still work to do. Can we talk honestly about its siting? Land appropriately priced and sized is limited, and maybe the site they chose was the best available.

But why wasn't more thought and funding given to making the site accessible and safe for kids and others who might not be able to drive? There is much talk about the value of physical activity, but the idea that some of the physical activity might come from walking, biking, or skateboarding there seems foreign to too many. Moreover, the population for whom the center is designed is also the group least likely to own a car. There are many for whom biking or walking is the only affordable transportation.

The site is in an industrial wasteland! It's bounded by the Salem Parkway, the rail line, Portland Road, Cherry Avenue, and Hyacinth. Highways, rail, or busy roads, all of them. Manufacturing and logistics dominate the business base.

Things change, of course. The site also has the potential to be beautiful. On the north and east, a Claggett Creek restoration project promises wildfowl and flowers. But the area is still dominated by industry. Traffic speeds by, glass and metal and gravel litter the sides of the road. This is not a place a parent would send a child to walk or bike. This is a destination to which a parent must drive their child.

As you approach from Salem Industrial Drive, you see no sidewalks or bike lanes. Metal scrap heaps and high fences line the way. Large trucks dominate the width of the road.

Soon the center comes into view. A bike lane has appeared. But making the left turn into the center is impossible. No cars or trucks pause long enough to make the movement left out of the bike lane safe. Traffic moves at arterial speeds, not residential speeds. And they don't wait for pedestrians or bicycles. Why should they? Are any crosswalks marked? The pavement markings mostly disregard pedestrians.

Once you cross the moat and enter the compound, there's tons of bike parking. About half the parking is sheltered, all of it is near entries, and it looks to be well-lit and visible. Except for the wave racking, which is generally discouraged now, the parking looks exemplary. By Salem standards, this is first-class, maybe best in class.

In addition to this rack, there are 4 others spaced around the building. Anywhere that you'd want bike parking, there is bike parking.

(The one by the weight room looks to be installed a little close to the wall - but I didn't have a tape measure.)

But to what end is all this terrific parking? Who is going to bike there?

One parent I talked to, a member of the Salem Bicycle Club, said that he couldn't imagine biking out here. Even adults, he said, would find it intimidating. Another parent, who had taken her child out to the center a few days ago, also said that she thought traffic was too busy, trucks too big and fast, shoulders too narrow, and road edges too full of glass and metal shards.

Crossing the Parkway is also a huge structural problem. (In another post soon we'll look in detail at crossing the Parkway.) Keizer has been looking at a bridge over the Parkway and rail line. Apparently it got hung up, in part over the $2M+ price tag.

Crossing Portland Road is not much better. The approach from this way is slightly better because the bike lane on the right will lead directly to a right turn into the property. Still, few people find biking on Portland Road pleasant, and parents will not send their children there.

The Kroc Center is glorious, and we should all spend some time celebrating it. But after a bit, the community will need to roll up its sleeves again and figure out how to connect the Kroc to the neighborhoods surrounding it. Until it is no longer an island, the Kroc will be hampered by its isolation and kept from full flower.

Update - August 21st, 2012

From an SJ chat:

As poorly sited and auto-dependent as a facility for children and families is, it should not surprise us they are having difficulties. It would be a struggle in a good economy, but in this one...well, folks should be concerned.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Breakfast on Bikes - September 25

This Friday, September 25th, we'll be at the North Office Mall Building on Winter street NE from 7am to 9am with coffee, pastries, and fruit for you. See you then!

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

View Larger Map

Salem Delights: Bonham Corner & 6tzen Family from France

What a great day outside! But not only was the weather terrific, odd and unexpected delights came my bikey way today.

In Riverfront Park, I ran into this family from France. They are biking from BC to San Francisco with their four children! They may have crossed Canada earlier from Quebec, but I wasn't sure about that. While going to see if Travel Salem was still open, as they were looking for a hotel, Bob caught up with us. He offered his yard for them in which to camp, and noted that his wife speaks French. What a wonderful coincidence!

They were riding two recumbent tandems with a tag-along for a set of two triples. How great is that!

They have a website, which uses google translate into English, but it sputters on my version of firefox. Can anyone help with translation?

Update: Bob sends evening news -
We have had a delightful visit with Arnault, Giselle and their four children (ages 2 to 11). They are on a year long trip traveling in the US (through November) and then on to South America (Chile, Peru and Bolivia) The US part of their trip started in Quebec in June and they will fly out of San Francisco. They've spent the last couple of weeks in Oregon. Their year long trek is less about cycling and more about seeing the world and engaging with people they meet along the way. It has been a pleasure to be part of that adventure.

The impressive combination of bikes suggests that they are accomplished cyclists, but Giselle explained that this is something they've taken on for just this trip. Before then they were just Sunday cyclists. What they've managed is impressive if a bit daunting. However, I also understand that they haven't cycled all the way, taking Amtrak or Greyhound parts of the way. All in all it's quite the feat.

I felt a bit guilty shepherding them up the hill to my house...It was the end of a long day for them, and the climb up the hill with these monster bikes with their heavy load was a workout for the whole family. They definitely earned the showers and quiet night they'll spend with us tonight.

Tomorrow they'll be on their way to the coast, though I think Arnault is still debating about whether to go to Corvallis and Eugene first, or directly to the coast and south.
Thanks, Bob!

Earlier, I found some other Salem delights.

One of the MWVBTA projects is to identify low-traffic alternatives to the network of bike lanes striped on busy streets. In some cases, though, like that of Liberty south between the Y at Commercial and Browning, there aren't even bike lanes. In fact, the whole stretch is a sticky wicket.

I was investigating one alternative, and going north on Stanley, you appear to deadend at Madrona. Hidden between two houses, however, is a cut-through to the cul-de-sac on Sixth! I would have never found this without Beth telling me about it! Thanks, Beth! It's the kind of local lore about hidden things that rarely makes it onto maps, alas.

At little to the north and east, as you drop down the hill at Bonham, at the intersection of Bonham and King is a tiny little park! Bonham Corner.

Bonham Corner has a park bench, a little sign, and is a small piece of public space carved out of odd lots. If only we had more of these!

Just a terrific late afternoon and evening to be on a bike...I hope you found your own delights!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

City to Close Carousel Entry at State Street?

Next Monday, the 28th, City Council will hold a public hearing regarding Riverfront Park and the Boise Redevelopment Project. The developers of the Boise project propose to close the entry to the park from State street and create a new entry off of Front street. According to the city:
the City received a request from the developers of the Boise property (Pringle Square LLC) to submit a revised railroad-highway crossing application with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Rail Division. Pringle Square is redeveloping the Boise site into a mixed-use project. The revised application would close the existing at-grade crossing at State Street, just west of the Front Street Bypass, and create a new public street at-grade crossing further south through the former Boise Cascade property. In exchange for the City’s agreement to amend its crossing application to include the closure of the existing State Street vehicle and pedestrian crossing into Riverfront Park and make it possible for a new at-grade crossing to be constructed on the Boise property, the developers have proposed to complete street/sidewalk improvements and create new parking spaces for the carousel.

On September 28, 2009 there will be a public hearing on the proposed request to revise the railroad-highway crossing application.

For questions related to this please contact City Information Manager, Mike Gotterba at telephone 503-588-6347 or
Unfortunately plans for the crossing and entry aren't yet published to the city's website. The plan is complicated, and a diagram and map helps.

Whether you walk, bike, or drive, the plan requires a good chunk of out-of-direction travel to enter the park. And while it relocates a crossing of the RR tracks, it also removes a crossing of Front street and entry. Access by bicycles and pedestrians across Front street will be diminished by one location.

The proposed agreement also increases auto parking inside the park and sidewalk improvements outside of the park, but doesn't help with getting into the park. It does not make improvements for entry and egress for bikes and peds. Both park and Boise project are conceived soley as auto destinations.

If indeed this is the only way to create an entry for both the park and the Boise project, the city and Pringle Square together can make a better agreement, one that improves access for all users, pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders, transit riders, and motorists.

Expect more on Friday when the city publishes the staff report prior to Monday's council session.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Straub Property and School Siting at Chapman Corners

If you live in West Salem - and even if you haven't - you've likely heard about the school district's newly public discussion about condemning a parcel of land at Chapman Corners for two new schools. (Statesman article here, and pdf here.)

The land holds an historic home that currently is held in the family of former Governor Bob Straub. (More photos here.) Interestingly, the family chose not to register it as an historic property.

Regardless of the disposition of the venerable house - and as its core building precedes statehood, it is venerable - there are other questions about school siting. The parcel is on a hill, near to two other schools, but also directly across the street from Fire Station 11. It is also on the current border of new housing development.

Siting additional schools there would seem to encourage more sprawl, and discourage kids from biking and walking to school.

At the same time, the West Salem Neighborhood Plan calls for additional density and commercial center development along Orchard Heights (yellow and purple on map), and appropriate development here might yield the kinds of walkable neighborhoods West Salem essentially lacks.

School siting can be complicated, but too often we settle for suburban land on the edges of development that makes it more likely parents will drive their kids to school and deprive them of the benefits of active transportation - walking, biking, skateboarding, and the like.

If you live in West Salem, get involved! Maybe there are other prospective sites that are more likely to yield compact, walkable neighborhoods.

The Missing Path on River Road S near Roberts

The grapes are almost ripe and ready for harvest!

Went out for a ride in the late afternoon and early evening and found a spot we don't always think about because it's outside of the city limits.

Just southwest of Roberts is Illahe and a bunch of new development. This map is from 2006, and several of the new roads are not mapped. The section in yellow without shoulders has been improved. Here's a map of the new Sandstrum Homes development.

Here you can see a bike path on the left side of the image, the outbound, west side of the road. Coming into town, on the east side of the road, is a very minimal shoulder along a ditched Pettyjohn creek. In the middle of the road is a turn refuge. But to where? It's not possible to make an east bound turn! There are no roads, only the ditch, on this side of the road. The road builders inserted an extraneous turn lane and failed to stripe two-way bike lanes. This is nonsense! It certainly violates the spirit of the bicycle bill, which according to the ODOT summary:
requires the inclusion of facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists wherever a road, street or highway is built or rebuilt. It applies to ODOT, cities and counties.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Better than Oktoberfest - Biketobeerfest! and "I Ride"

Hopworks Urban Brewery just rolled out the Hopsworksfiets, a Dutch bakfiets specially made to haul and dispense two kegs of beer. The moble party revolution is here! (photo: Elly Blue/

And here is the completely fabulous "I Ride" campaign from the Community Cycling Center.

If these don't get you fired up about bicycling, you're not alive!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brief Bike Commute Challenge Update

Here's a brief mid-month update on some Salem Bike Commute Challenge activities.

For the BCC Captain special drawing, 4 Salem area BCC captains have been nominated so far:

OR Department of Veteran's Affairs, Salem
Rick Crossler-Laird- ODOT, Salem Area
Vanessa Strode- City of Salem
Cecil Reniche-Smith and Michael Collins- Department of Justice, Salem

Here's Chris Brown's Photo of the Day on the BTA website.

In the weekly drawings, we've had two winners:

Week 1 Drawing: 7. Kimberlyn Kammerer of Oregon State Hospital in Salem is the winner of $25 gift certificate to Lifesource Natural Foods.

Week 2 Drawing: Jillian Cornejo of the Department of Consumer and Business Services in Salem is the winner of a complimentary tour and tasting package from Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Over at Pacific Pedaling, Paul's got a nice series going chronicling the bike commutes at his office and among his friends.

Over at Salem Daily Photo Diary, there's a great nighttime scene.

Congratulations to all the nominees, winners, and participants. It's not too late to sign up!

Monday, September 14, 2009

DaVinci's Disappearing Bike Rack

Folks who bike up High Street by the Elsinore on their way south may notice a bike rack in front of Davinci Ristorante.

Later, after the cafe tables and seating appear on the sidewalk in the late afternoon and early evening, bicyclists might wonder where the bike rack went.

A table hides the bike rack! The table is cleverly designed to use the bike rack as a structural element. If your school days aren't too distant, and you can dredge up your Euclid, you'll recall three points determine a plane. Here, the rigidity of the rack supports the surface of a table by two points only! It really is a clever arrangement.

Salem Revised Code appears to be silent on this. It may be perfectly legal.

At the same time, it is gross abuse of a bike rack!

If you patronize DaVinci's, bike there, and lock up. Let 'em know you use and count on that rack!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Celebrate Ding Day Tomorrow!

Over at London Cycle Chic, they've got a great idea: Ding Day! It's especially fine for Bike Commute Challenge month.

The city of London asks bicyclists
to greet each other with a ‘ding ding’ of the bell, turning the city into a veritable symphony of bicycle bells. If you are greeted, you must ‘ding’ back.

Ding Day is now in its second year and its organisers hope the idea will help celebrate cycling in the city and create a fun experience for cyclists and residents.
So ding your bell and say "hi" to other folks out on the road!

Friday, September 4, 2009

David Byrne to Talk Bikes

David Byrne loves bikes! And he's coming to Portland to promote his new book, Bicycle Diaries. And three new talking heads will join him on stage to talk bike love!

Take your music-loving friends who maybe don't get bicycling, and introduce them to the wacky fun of bike love!

The publisher blurbs:
Since the early 1980s, David Byrne has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Two decades ago, he discovered folding bikes and started taking them on tour. Byrne's choice was made out of convenience rather than political motivation, but the more cities he saw from his bicycle, the more he became hooked on this mode of transport and the sense of liberation it provided. Convinced that urban biking opens one's eyes to the inner workings and rhythms of a city's geography and population, Byrne began keeping a journal of his observations and insights.

An account of what he sees and whom he meets as he pedals through metropoles from Berlin to Buenos Aires, Istanbul to San Francisco, Manila to New York, Bicycle Diaries also records Byrne's thoughts on world music, urban planning, fashion, architecture, cultural dislocation, and much more, all conveyed with a highly personal mixture of humor, curiosity, and humility. Part travelogue, part journal, part photo album, Bicycle Diaries is an eye-opening celebration of seeing the world from the seat of a bike.
The event will be at the Baghad Theater and will have a panel discussion with Mia Birk of Alta Planning and Design, Jonathan Maus of BikePortland, and Timo Forsberg of City of Portland Transportation Options Division and prime mover of Shift and Breakfast on the Bridges. Tickets are $26 and include a copy of the book. Tickets are available at the Bagdad Theater box office, the Crystal Ballroom box office,, and all Ticketmaster outlets.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Beer Baron Boosts Bikes and Business

Last night KATU ran a story about the new bike parking at the Widmer Gasthaus and Brewery. They get it. Bikes and Business are good for each other!