Saturday, October 31, 2009

Salem Bike Taxi Joins Mix of Downtown Transportation Options

As those of you who follow the Salem twittersphere or the goings-on at Venti's know, there's a new pedicab service running downtown! This is a great new addition to the mix of downtown services as well as the culture of downtown.

The owner and operator, Michele Darr, joined us at B on B yesterday, and we got to talk and find out more about the service.
Our primary objective is to offer another option of sustainable, peaceful transportation in Oregon's Capitol city. 7 days a week people can most predictably find us around the Downtown/State Capitol/Waterfront areas, unless we are doing one of our tours (which include Bush Park, Waterfront Park, Mission Mill, Bike Bridge-Wallace Marine Park, and many more) or transporting people to other parts of town. We are available for pre-scheduled as well as on-demand taxi service, errand assistance, tours, weddings, special events, deliveries, etc...

The hours of operation:
Sunday-Thursday, 11am-8pm
Friday and Saturday, 11am-2am-ish
by appointment outside of these hours
fares by donation
(website under construction)

Michele grew up in Salem and then spent significant time in the middle east, including time in Kuwait during the 1990 Iraqi invasion. These experiences inform her desire for peace and for a reduction in our dependence on oil.

For Michele, using human-power is central in both projects. In 2007 she biked across the country with her three children in trailer and tag-along to arrive for rallies in Washington, DC on September 21st, the International Day of Peace.

Her latest expression of the projects is the Salem Bike Taxi service. She's already lined up her first advertiser, Venti's. The cab can be fully enclosed, and there's a blanket for additional warmth. A battery assist helps with the hills.

Welcome to Salem, Michele!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Strangely and Happily Warm and Dry at Breakfast

Robbie the Robot with Unicycle at Breakfast on Bikes!

The weather was oddly warm and dry. We all expected cold and rain, but it was temperate and we were all over-dressed. We said good-bye to the bridge - to a person, everyone said they'd miss it over the winter.

Later, Michele with the Bike Taxi showed up! Venti's has a great post on Michele and the pedicab. We'll have more from Michele over the weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Festival of Lights Bike Float & Drill Team Practice, Nov 7th

The PGE Festival of Lights Holiday Parade lights up on Saturday, December 12. It's the 20th anniversary of the parade, and this year's theme is "Absolutely Glowing."

Usually the "floats" are motorized. This year, we have a non-motorized alternative: Join the bicycling brigade! Come one, come all!

Parade float & drill team organizers Robert, Debbie, Beth, and Mary sent out this notice:

How long since you've been in a parade, instead of watching from the curb? How long since you've BIKED in a parade? Here's your chance to remedy that! Coming up on December 12 - the Salem Bike Club's* first annual entry in the Festival of Lights Holiday Parade. All you need is some lights for your bike, warm clothes, helmet and a sense of fun.

We're aiming for a big turnout - 50 or more cyclists would be great! Young (if under 16, with parents), medium or experienced; unicycle, bicycle or tandem - it all works. And if you have a bike trailer, load up your young kids, your dog, Christmas tree, a reindeer, or snowman (parade rules say no Santas other than the official one). Prizes are given for the best float in various categories, so unleash your creative spirit!

Parade particulars:
Saturday, December 12
Meet at the Red Lot** at 5:00 p.m. for sign-in and last-minute practice (across from McDonald's at Center and Capitol Streets N.E.)
Parade starts at 6:30 p.m.
Ride Leader: Robert Fox
(e-mail Robert with any questions:

Be a part of the 20th anniversary of the largest lighted nighttime holiday parade west of the Mississippi, and start a new tradition with the bike club!

First practice on Saturday, Nov 7th:
We'll be doing some very simple drill team-type maneuvers along the parade route. A planning and practice session is set for Saturday, November 7 at 5:00 p.m. at the Pringle Creek Community (from Madrona Ave. S.E., turn south on Fairview Industrial Way, then after .2 mile, turn right on Strong Road S.E., and about .2 mile further turn right at the entrance of the development). Bring your bike and join the group at the intersection of Village Center Drive and Audubon Avenue.

You can join the group on parade day even if you don't make it to the November 7 session, but a little practice will make us more impressive at the parade itself.
Please come out and show Salem how much fun bicycling can be!

Special bonus points for cool lighting systems like hokey spokes or other "absolutely extravagant" carnival lights! (There are rumors of special sessions to learn how to rewire xmas light strands for 6v batteries!)

update (11/11): Thanks to the Salem Bicycle Club! They have very graciously stepped up to sponsor the entirety of the parade entry!

* You don't have to be a member of the Salem Bicycle Club to ride in the parade!

**Here's a location map for the Red Lot.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Breakfast on Bikes - This Friday, Union RR Bridge

The Union St. Railroad Bridge will be closing on November 9th for lead paint abatement, so we're especially excited to give it a grand send-off for the winter! Breakfast will be from 7am to 9am. We'll have free coffee, fruit, and pastries for bike commuters. Please join us!

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

Last year, the last Friday was on Halloween! This year the calendar doesn't line up quite so nice - but if feel like coming in costume, please do so! As part of Culture Shock's 13 Days of Halloween, Indigo Wellness Downtown will be hosting Zombie Yoga that night, so bonus points for bicycling zombies!

Important note for November and December Breakfasts: The last Friday in November and December coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas weekends. Most people aren't commuting those days! So for the holidays, there is no November Breakfast, and the December Breakfast will be on December 11th. The December Breakfast will be at Mission & Winter.

Battle Creek Cross Races on Saturday

Who knew Salem had so many cyclocross racers!

The Battle Creek Cross races enjoyed amazing sun and what was described as a challenging, technical course. The parking lot was full all day, it seemed.

Salem-area racers who finished included:

Matthew Jones placed 6th in Beginner Men
Ben Dinsdale placed 8th in Beginner Men
Jim Allen placed 9th in Beginner Men
Robert Luoma placed 10th in Beginner Men
Kevin Foster placed 12th in Beginner Men
Paul Lopez placed 14th in Beginner Men
Alex Zuk placed 15th in Beginner Men
Tm Zuk placed 16th in Beginner Men
Mike Studer placed 17th in Beginner Men

George Beilstein placed 1st in Clydesdales

Steve Yenne placed 2nd in Master Men 50+

Al Depenbrock placed 4th in Master Men 60+
Peter Dinsdale placed 6th in Master Men 60+

Brett Luelling placed 3th in Men Cat A

Brent Poole placed 2th in Men Cat B
James Shingleton placed 7th in Men Cat B

Brendan Gallant placed 1st in Men Cat C
Jonathan Bauer placed 8th in Men Cat C
Scott Larson placed 9th in Men Cat C
Dan Taborsky placed 13th in Men Cat C
Jeremy Jensen placed 18th in Men Cat C

Brian Marcroft placed 9th in Men Master B
Mike Petersen placed 15th in Men Master B
Doug Addicott placed 17th in Men Master B
Mark Magilner placed 25th in Men Master B

Jeremy Jensen placed 18th in Singlespeed

Jen Akeroyd placed 3th in Women A

Maren Nelson placed 6th in Women Master 35+
Tessa Sugahara placed 7th in Women Master 35+
Martha Paulus placed 10th in Women Master 35+

Congratulations, all!

For complete results see the OBRA site.

For some lovely photos of racers and the overgrown golf course, see Matthew Haughey's shots on Flickr.

I'm sure Paul @ Pacific Pedaling will also have some shots and maybe some video. He was shooting at the sand trap obstacle during the womens' races. We'll link to them when he posts 'em! [updated with link]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bicycle Safety Education in the News

Robert finished up another week of Bicycle Safety Education! Read all about it in the Statesman! (Photo: Kobbi R. Blair, Statesman Journal)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weekend Fun: Climate Change Fair and Battlecreek Cross

On Saturday cyclocross comes to Salem! Over at Pacific Pedaling Paul's got all the details. The guys at Buy Local Cycling are doing a terrific job of bringing racing to Salem!

And check out their great t-shirt design!

As they say:
The "Ride More, Drive Less" shirt is the official team shirt of the Buy Local Cycling team, which is sponsored by MetaFilter (and MeFi founder mathowie is a team member). It lets you tell the world you'd rather be pedaling than stuck in traffic. Proceeds from the sale of shirts benefit the McMinnville Montessori School.

On Saturday also is an international day of action and awareness for the safe upper limit of atmospheric carbon in parts per million. We're already past that threshold of 350 ppm, and the UN is holding a conference in Copenhagen to finalize a treaty on global warming. seeks to spread the word.

At Tea Party Bookshop JoAnne and others are hosting a health fair in honor of the day.

In Oregon transportation accounts for a third of greenhouse gases. Bicycling is an easy way to shift trips from high carbon to low carbon emissions. Plus, bicyclists get exercise to burn calories and fight chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

We'll have a table there and be available to talk about ways to incorporate bicycling into a green, healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry: Bad Bike Parking and New Construction

On Monday, when it opens, the Chemeketa Community College Center for Business and Industry will be a LEED Silver building. But if you look for green transportation solutions, you might be scratching your head.

CCBI - Cambridge Architectural
While Portland is considering increasing bike parking for new multi-family construction from .25 spots for every dwelling unit (1:4) to 1.5 spots for every unit (3:2), Salem's requirements are .1 spots for every dwelling (from SRC chapter 133). That's 1 bike space for every 10 dwellings (with a minimum of 4 bike spots for units of any size).

The commercial requirements in Salem are equally spare. For "Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools and Junior Colleges (SIC 822)," code requires:
The greater of 4 spaces or 1 space per 10,000 square feet of gross building floor area.

For the CBI building the bike parking is hidden in the back. The wave rack*, not recommended by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP), is also installed out from the wall, seemingly and strangely placed so it is not under the metal awning.

At the main entry, where the parking would be most convenient and easy to find, there is no sign that bikes will be expected.

And there's plenty of great awning that could shelter bikes and send the message that bikes are a great way to get around town.

Here is the south side of the corner at Union and High. It's just on the other side of the back entry where the bike parking was installed.

And here is the west side of that same corner. This is the closest to the main entry on High, and is the most logical place for bike parking.

This isn't the only new building where bikes seem to be an afterthought.

Back in April the Broadway Town Square project at Market and Broadway NE opened. On a transportation email list there was a lively exchange:
love the new Salem Cinema, as I loved the old one, and I'm enjoying the Salem Film Festival's fourth year a good deal. It's wonderful, mainly. There's a nice little bistro space so you can pull up on your bike, go into the theatre, and your bike will be right where a lot of people can see it, an important security feature.

Except . . . that there is no provision -- none -- for bike parking at the Cinema! Zero!! The nearest bike rack is south of the theatre, in front of empty apartment buildings. In other words, if you ride your bike to the new Salem Cinema, you won't be locking it up anyplace secure that has people keeping an eye on it....
In response another wrote:
the south building has 4 wave racks at each corner; the Cinema building has zero; and the Y building in the next block north also has zero. I really hope the code isn't so minimal that the buildings are compliant for bike parking!

Interestingly, the corner bike parking could have been positioned here, under the awning, next to a window, and near a lighting sconce. Security, visibility, shelter. Perfect. Instead there's a void, empty space.

The positioning of the rack, out in the elements and away from main entries, is similar to the positioning of the rack at the CCC Center for Business and Industry.

Coincidence? Maybe not.

Arbuckle Costic designed both buildings. To an email asking about their approach to bicycle parking, principal Kim Arbuckle said
We include bike parking to meet the code requirements but have found little use of most of these installations in the building we have done.
Unfortunately, we have the ingredients for a self-fulfilling prophecy here. One of the reasons the bike parking is little used is because it's not very good bike parking.

The APBP recommends staple type racks rather than wave racks. They say
Wave style racks are not recommended. Bicyclists commonly use a “wave” rack as if it were a single inverted “U.” This limits the actual capacity of the rack to two bikes regardless of the potential or stated capacity. Bicycles parked perpendicular to a wave rack (as intended by the manufacturer) are not supported in two places and are more likely to fall over in the rack. The advertised capacity of a wave rack is usually much higher than the practical capacity.
The APBP also recommends shelter.
If possible, the rack area should be protected from the elements. Racks along building walls can be sheltered by an awning. Even though cyclists are exposed to sun, rain, and snow while en route, covering the rack area keeps the cyclist more comfortable while parking, locking the bike, and loading or unloading cargo. An awning will also help keep the bicycle dry, especially the saddle.
Finally, the APBP recommends that racks be installed near entries.
The location of a rack area in relationship to the building it serves is very important. The best location for a rack area is immediately adjacent to the entrance it serves....Racks that are far from the entrance, hard to find, or perceived to be vulnerable to vandalism will not be used by most cyclists.
The racks at the CBI and at the Broadway project apparently fulfill code requirements, although in one regard they don't appear to satisfy the spirit. Code requires that
Bicycle parking shall be provided within a convenient distance of, and clearly visible from the primary building entrance as determined by the City. Such parking shall not be further than 50 feet from the public entrance to the building.
Certainly at the CBI building, the bike parking is neither clearly visible from the primary building entrance or within 50 feet of it, as the bike parking is in back off of Union rather than near the official address and main entry of 626 High St. NE. Perhaps the entry off of Union is the official "primary entry," though this would be counter-intuitive. The bike parking at Salem Cinema is similarly distant, though it's less clear what is the "primary entry" for its building.

In any event, two installations of bike parking do not meet the guidelines of the APBP. It shouldn't be a mystery why bike parking like this isn't used as much as it could be.

*The wave rack at Indigo Wellness was salvaged, so as a reuse project it should be exempt from the APBP guidelines!

Update, May 12th, 2013

Doors on Union Street adjacent to bike racks:  Not Main Entry!
Here we go.  The bike racks are definitely neither clearly visible from the primary entry nor within 50 feet of the primary entry.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saturday Benefit for Mechanic Tom Nunes

The good folks at the Bike Peddler have been hit this summer with illness and misfortune. Tom Nunes, mechanic and musician, part of Le Nunes, crashed hard in August.

This Saturday at Brown's Towne Lounge from 6pm to 10pm will be a benefit for his medical care. The gala will feature art and an auction as well as performances by The Nettles, Mark Lemhouse, Jeremy Crofoot and others.

Stop in, have a pint, and help out a fellow bicyclist - the next bike he fixes could be yours!

Mid-Willamette Valley Chapter of the BTA - Meeting on 20th

The MWVBTA meets the third Tuesday of each month. We will be meeting next Tuesday at Willamette University at 4pm. On our agenda:
Union St. RR Bridge work (special guest: Todd Klocke, City of Salem)
Wallace/Glen Creek project
Top 12 Bike Projects document
Bike counts
Holiday Parade of Lights entry
Bikesheds routes feedback
Sunday Bikeways
Bicycle Safety Education
Boise development access plan
If you are a member of the BTA, would like to learn more about the BTA, or are interested in making the Salem area a better place for bicycling, please join us! (See WU calender for location & complete details.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meetings: National Bike Route System & Greenhouse Gas Task Force

The Adventure Cycling folks are coming to Salem on Tuesday, October 20th. From the release:
Please join Adventure Cycling for this interactive gathering.

Learn about America’s largest membership-based non-profit bicycling organization. Ginny Sullivan, special projects director will talk about our efforts to create the largest bicycle network in the world, the U.S. Bicycle Route System and share other bicycle travel news. All welcome!

October 20, 2009
7:00-9:00 pm
First United Methodist Church
600 State Street, Salem, OR
RSVP by October 16 to Beth Petersen: 800.755.2453 x 211 or

Here's an outline of the proposed Route System:

For more see this article and this update on AASHTO approval.

Also, the task force on planning and greenhouse gas emissions that the legislature created is getting ready to start meeting. From 1000 Friends of Oregon:

Metropolitan Planning Organization & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Task Force

Created by the 2009 Legislature, the task force will bring together state legislators, representatives from Oregon’s six Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and land use and transportation planning stakeholders to study and evaluate the development of land use and transportation scenarios that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, taking into consideration expected population growth and increased fuel efficiency. In January 2010, the task force will recommend legislation to the Legislature that will establish a process for adoption and implementation of plans for reducing GHG emissions. 1000 Friends of Oregon looks forward to working with the task force and Oregonians across the state to create a healthy, climate-friendly transportation system. Their meeting times are listed below:

Thursday, October 15, 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm, Salem PUC Bldg. Main Hearing Room
Thursday, October 29, 8:30 am to 12:00 noon, Salem Transportation Building Room 122
Thursday, November 12, 8:30 am to 12:00 noon, Salem Transportation Building Room 122
Friday, December 4, 8:30 am to 12:00 noon, Salem (location to be announced)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Bikey Bakery D'Amour

When a business logo features a bike front-and-center, especially in Salem, you have to wonder: Is this the sign of something new, of bikes going mainstream?

Gallo came up with the Red Bicyclette brand, but it's got nothing to do with bikes and everything to do with romancing an image of wine and France and the good life.

On the other hand, with everything to do with bikes, is Ft. Collins' New Belgium Brewing Company and their flagship Fat Tire Amber. They sponsor the Tour de Fat and note that "every employee gets a custom cruiser bike after one-year of employment."

So what's the reality behind Bakery D'Amour? Do they love bikes as they love bread?

The business is in a nouveau strip mall off Commercial SE, right behind the French Press, which features sepia tones of the Eiffel Tower. The Francophone cluster made me a worried that it might be strip-mall cute. Unfortunately, there's no outdoor seating at the bakery; their storefront faces the parking lot, and the sidewalk's not that deep. The French Press has outdoor seating, but it is inexplicably on Commercial rather than sheltered by the outrigger building and facing the lot. Oh well.

For starters the bakery has a bike rack! One anyway. It's front-and-center, right by the main entry, in front of a window, and sheltered by a short balcony. You can't miss it! It's great that a business understands where the racks belong. Hopefully parking demand will dictate more racks soon!

On another visit a couple of bicyclists were at an indoors table and declined to use the rack. It seemed they might have been out for a ride, were riding light, and didn't have a lock. Still, the rack provided a cue to place their bikes on the other side of the door, safe within sight!

More interesting, perhaps, is the drive-thru. On the south side of the building is a canopy and drive way. The situation really is perfect for south-bound bike traffic in the evening - pick up a loaf of bread for dinner and put it in your basket or bag!

The matter-of-fact tone? Whether they are taking a cue from Burgerville or not, the lady who took my order didn't bat an eye when I pulled up on bike. Not even to comment on the fact of biking. It was banal and ordinary!

That, my friends, looks like the sign of a bike-friendly business.

This looks like it might be a terrific addition to the South Salem neighborhoods! For reviews of the food, see Eat Salem's notes. Maybe we can get an interview and learn more about the ways bicycling might inform their business...stay tuned!

(And if you're downtown, don't forget about Cascade Baking Company, monthly sponsors of Breakfast on Bikes!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Salem- Keizer Bike Commute Challenge Results

The results are in! Last night at Portland City Hall, the BTA announced the winners.

One Salem firm and one person who works in Salem won statewide awards.

In the small bike shops category, South Salem Cycleworks won with a 84.8% commute rate.

And the Brian Reynolds Distance Award, given to the commuter with the highest mileage, Chris Bell, in the Salem ODOT office, won with a staggering 1,828 miles in 21 days of commuting. He biked daily from Portland - and joined us last month for Breakfast on Bikes!

Here's all the results by city.

In the Salem area there were:
401 riders total
164 new riders
4550 total commutes
39,036 total miles

In another post we'll have some comparisons of 2008/09 numbers and winners in the business-to-business challenges.

Update: There were five challenges issued!

Richmond Elementary wins over Parrish Middle School
Oregon Department of Agriculture wins over Education
Oregon Water Resources wins over Oregon Parks & Recreation
Oregon Department of Energy wins over Veterans Affairs
Oregon Legislature wins over Veterans Affairs
Northwest Rehabilitation Associates wins over Oregon State Hospital

The number of riders increased by 4% over 2008, which is the same statewide. The number of companies participating in Salem was the same, though statewide it increased by 16%. 41% of riders said they were first-time commuters.

Interestingly, if 41% were new, and total participation increased by 4%, then lots of folks who participated last year declined to participate again. Not sure whether that means they aren't riding or the BCC wasn't attractive to them this year. We'll have a better idea after the bike count numbers come in.

Here are the Salem area category results.

Bike Shops
South Salem Cycleworks recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 703 miles at a 84.8% commute rate.
Santiam Bicycle, Inc. recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 337 miles at a 8.1% commute rate.

Business or Non-Profit (5-24 Employees)
72mm recruited 2 first time rider(s), and commuted 243 miles at a 43.2% commute rate.
EXIT real world recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 147 miles at a 26.5% commute rate.
Salem-Keizer CDC recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 18 miles at a 25% commute rate.
North Campus Willamette Christian School recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 120 miles at a 11.9% commute rate.
Oak Street Surgical Associates recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 204 miles at a 10.7% commute rate.
Northwest Rehabilitation Associates recruited 2 first time rider(s), and commuted 104 miles at a 6.6% commute rate.
Legal Beagles! recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 85 miles at a 5.1% commute rate.
Gilmore Dental recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 78 miles at a 4.4% commute rate.
Landmark Mortgage recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 102 miles at a 2% commute rate.

Business or Non-Profit (25-99)
Tokyo Intl University of America recruited 3 first time rider(s), and commuted 320 miles at a 11.6% commute rate.
Lifesource Natural Foods recruited 2 first time rider(s), and commuted 161 miles at a 3.7% commute rate.
Western Mennonite School recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 241 miles at a 1.1% commute rate.
Easter Seals Oregon recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 5 miles at a 0.1% commute rate.

Business or Non-Profit (100-499)
Garmin AT recruited 11 first time rider(s), and commuted 3789 miles at a 5.1% commute rate.
Willamette University recruited 13 first time rider(s), and commuted 915 miles at a 1.9% commute rate.
Salem Classical Fencing recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 831 miles at a 1.8% commute rate.
Greenpeace recruited 2 first time rider(s), and commuted 190 miles at a 0.6% commute rate.
salem clinic recruited 2 first time rider(s), and commuted 219 miles at a 0.4% commute rate.
Statesman Journal recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 176 miles at a 0.4% commute rate.
SWM recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 45 miles at a 0.1% commute rate.
kaiser skyline recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 12 miles at a 0.1% commute rate.

Business or Non-Profit (500+)
Salem Hospital recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 20 miles at a 0% commute rate.

Public Agency (24-99)
Oregon Legislature recruited 4 first time rider(s), and commuted 1207 miles at a 17.1% commute rate.
Or Dept of Land Conservation & Developme recruited 6 first time rider(s), and commuted 818 miles at a 9.7% commute rate.
Budget and Management Division, DAS recruited 3 first time rider(s), and commuted 546 miles at a 9.5% commute rate.
Oregon Department of Energy recruited 2 first time rider(s), and commuted 1360 miles at a 8.6% commute rate.
South Salem High School recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 903 miles at a 7.1% commute rate.
Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 245 miles at a 4.6% commute rate.
Oregon State Library recruited 2 first time rider(s), and commuted 203 miles at a 4.3% commute rate.
Chemawa Indian Health Center recruited 3 first time rider(s), and commuted 450 miles at a 3.8% commute rate.
City of Keizer recruited 3 first time rider(s), and commuted 366 miles at a 3% commute rate.
Oregon Office of the State Treasurer recruited 3 first time rider(s), and commuted 556 miles at a 2.1% commute rate.
Richmond Roadrunners recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 80 miles at a 1.5% commute rate.
Local Government Center recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 57 miles at a 0.8% commute rate.

Public Agency (100-499)
Oregon Water Resources Dept. recruited 15 first time rider(s), and commuted 1356 miles at a 9% commute rate.
Oregon Department of State Lands recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 361 miles at a 2.6% commute rate.
Oregon Parks and Recreation recruited 3 first time rider(s), and commuted 469 miles at a 2.5% commute rate.
Oregon Department of Agriculture recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 841 miles at a 1.9% commute rate.
State Data Center (DAS/SDC) recruited 2 first time rider(s), and commuted 362 miles at a 1.4% commute rate.
Salem main post office recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 235 miles at a 1.3% commute rate.
Sprague High School recruited 4 first time rider(s), and commuted 392 miles at a 1.1% commute rate.
McNary High School recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 90 miles at a 0.9% commute rate.

Public Agency (500+)
ODOT Salem Area recruited 12 first time rider(s), and commuted 6776 miles at a 6.4% commute rate.
Oregon Department of Justice recruited 21 first time rider(s), and commuted 3272 miles at a 1.5% commute rate.
Dept of Consumer and Business Services recruited 6 first time rider(s), and commuted 2012 miles at a 1.2% commute rate.
City of Salem recruited 5 first time rider(s), and commuted 1395 miles at a 1% commute rate.
Oregon Department of Education recruited 3 first time rider(s), and commuted 722 miles at a 0.9% commute rate.
Oregon State Hospital recruited 7 first time rider(s), and commuted 1609 miles at a 0.8% commute rate.
Oregon Department of Revenue recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 535 miles at a 0.4% commute rate.
Oregon DHS Salem Parkway recruited 0 first time rider(s), and commuted 1266 miles at a 0.2% commute rate.
Department of Human Service Summer St. recruited 8 first time rider(s), and commuted 1124 miles at a 0.2% commute rate.
Oregon Department of Human Services HSB recruited 1 first time rider(s), and commuted 55 miles at a 0.1% commute rate.
Marion County recruited 3 first time rider(s), and commuted 308 miles at a 0.1% commute rate.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Keep Salem Moving: Road Bond Update - Good News, Bad News

First some good news. The first round of bicycle and pedestrian improvements funded by the Keep Salem Moving road bond looks to finish vetting and selection in December. Public Works has issued a call for proposals and ideas. From the project sheet:
Construct Missing Sidewalks and Bicycle Lanes to Schools and Parks
Construct missing sidewalks and bicycle lanes on City streets, with priority given to streets serving as important routes to schools and parks. Projects to be approved by Council through a competitive prioritization and selection process.

Install Pedestrian Crossing and Traffic Calming Measures
Construct pedestrian crossings on streets serving as important routes to schools, parks, shopping, transit services, and other activity centers. Install traffic calming measures on local residential streets where warranted to reduce speeding and cut through traffic in neighborhoods. Projects to be approved by Council through a competitive prioritization and selection process.

Install Core Area Transit and Pedestrian Curb Extensions
Install curb extensions on streets in the core area of Salem to better facilitate pedestrian safety and access to transit buses. Projects to be approved by City Council selection process.
The Downtown Vision 2020 Bike/Ped group will be mooting ideas, the Mid-Willamette Valley Chapter of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance will be discussing them - you should think about them too! Drop ideas in the comments or let the city know.

Certainly, with the decision to close State Street at the Carousel, connectivity to the Union Street Railroad Bridge and Riverfront Park has become even more of a problem, and looking at ways to "bridge" the gaps across Liberty, Commercial, Front, and the Rail on the east side, and Wallace and Edgewater on the west, merits urgent consideration.

And this leads to the bad news. The bike/ped improvements too often are veneer - lipstick on a pig. The most basic structural decisions and execution are deleterious to bicyclists and pedestrians, and then the city looks at ways to paint the concrete and asphalt to mitigate for the damage the concrete and asphalt has inflicted.

Let's look at the proposed improvements for the intersection of Lancaster and Market NE. Both of these streets have to rank very high on the list of worst places to walk and bike in Salem. Traffic speeds are high, volumes are high, noise and stink are high, hazards from drive-ways and right hooks are high. Nobody likes to walk and bike there.

Currently, Lancaster has five lanes, both north and south of the intersection, and Market has 5 to the west and 3 to the east. There's a single left-turn lane in all four legs of the intersection. Bike lanes hug the margin, except on the west side of Market, where it sits between a through-lane and a right-turn lane.

In the proposed improvements, three legs gain one lane, and one leg gains two lanes. Two of the legs gain an additional left-turn lane. Bikes and pedestrians attempting to cross the intersection must negotiate the additional crossing distance from the new lanes and must watch out for turning traffic from the additional turn lanes. In every way it become more complicated and dangerous and unpleasant. The goal is to pump more drive-alone autos through the intersection.

Having achieved that goal, then there is the question: How do we accommodate bikes and peds? So they shift the bike lane to the left so that it's sheltered from the right-turn-only lane. That's the principal change. At the end of the day, however, the intersection becomes longer and more difficult to cross, an impediment to walking and biking rather than an encouragement.

This is the contradiction at the heart of the road bond and at the heart of the current Transportation System Plan.
Traditionally, roadways have been designed primarily to facilitate automobile travel, with limited consideration given to accommodating the use of bicycles as an effective alternative to meeting our transportation needs. This practice is changing, however, due to a growing awareness that bicycles offer a viable and economical mode of transportation with fewer negative impacts on air quality and finite land resources than those associated with the is important to provide well-maintained facilities and encouragement to use them.

In fact, the practice is hardly changing. However much each may talk about improving conditions for bikes and peds, the fundamental thrust of both is to make things worse and then with a very small proportion of the budget to try to abate the damage done. There's little sense of integrated planning for complete streets for all users.

As we move into the fall and plan for more of the road bond projects, let your City Councilor, the Mayer, and City Manager know that making Salem a bike-friendly place is important. Shifting short drive-alone trips to bicycle trips is an easy way to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas regulations are coming down the turnpike, and moving now rather than later will make all the difference.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Walk + Bike to School Day Tomorrow

A generation ago, almost half of school kids walked or biked to school. Today, it's only about a tenth.

Tomorrow, October 7th, is Walk + Bike to School Day!

Hundreds of schools are participating statewide. In the Salem-Keizer School District, Forest Ridge Elementary, Gubser Elementary, and Salem Heights Elementary are participating.

Later this month, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's Bicycle Safety Education program kicks-off. Each fall and spring the BTA teaches the ten-hour course for elementary and junior high age kids. In it they learn how to ride their bikes safely to school. The program starts building safe habits and encourages active transportation for independence and health. Last year the Surgeon General called the program "a model for the rest of the country" and presented the BTA with the "Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future Champion" award.

Salem is still getting going with encouraging kids to walk and bike to school. When the district-wide Safe Routes to School plan project gets going, hopefully more people will get involved. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Bike with your Louis Vuitton? Bikes and Fashion Start Talking

See, you can bike in a suit!

Last month the New York Times offered an article on the ways that bicycling was making inroads among the fashionistas. With it was this photo of Renaud Dutreil, the chairman of the North American unit of the luxury and fashion conglomerate LVMH commuting to work. (Photo: Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times)

The article cites other designers and luxury goods houses and the ways they sell bicycling or use bicycling in selling their goods.
Until recently, bikes were merely fashionable. Lately, it seems, they are fashion — and they don’t have to be ultraexpensive novelty items to qualify. As fashion companies start marketing bicycles and bike gear, Mr. Dutreil, a supporter of bicycle-advocacy programs in New York, said he wants to see more cyclists pedaling around in high style.

Closer to home, over the weekend in Portland, the Oregon Manifest kicked off with a special focus on utility bikes. The manifest's manifesto:
We’re looking for the next-wave transportation bike! OREGON MANIFEST has challenged frame builders from around the country to design and build an innovative, modern transportation bike in this technical trial of engineering dexterity and fabrication mettle.

Over 30 custom bike builders will be developing considered, integrated, and spectacular solutions for the everyday rider. The top 12 winners will be displayed at the OM Bike Union for our full 6 weekend run!
Riders took the bikes on a 77 mile "constructor's race." Check out ongoing coverage of the race and the manifest over at bikeportland.

Here's challenge winner Tony Pereira on his winning bike. Here's a detail of the integrated u-lock. (Photo: Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian)

Pereira won a bespoke suit from London tailor Timothy Everest and Rapha.

And it's not just man-suits! Builder Natalie Ramsland of Sweatpea rode the race on an Ahearn step-through in a skirt!

Here in Salem, bicycling remains second-class transportation. At best, the bicycle is regarded as an expensive toy for weekend or evening recreation. But as an everyday tool for mobility, it remains in popular opinion for the homeless guy collecting cans.

In order for bicycling to go mainstream, we will need to have a diverse ecosystem of snooty bikes, common bikes, expensive bikes, and cheap bikes. It will need to become banal rather than exceptional.

It can happen. In some European cities 50% of trips are made by bike. Everyone bikes, and people rarely self-identify as a "bicyclist."

So let's see more fashionistas on bikes!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bike Rack at Indigo Wellness Opening Night

The opening night party at the downtown Indigo Wellness Center was hopping! And Roy John's customized bike rack on the alley was great! He also fabricated a lovely screen in front of which sits a bench. This will really liven up the alley and make it a little European, even!

Updated:Here's a picture from Saturday afternoon, where you can see the screen, the word "yoga" in chain on the side of the rack, and the disced highlighting on the sign and rack.

The setting sun was bright, and the pix not so good - so we'll try to get some close ups another time!