Monday, February 28, 2011

City Council Tonight; Rivercrossing Meetings Tomorrow

More interesting, really, than City Council this week is the revivification of the Rivercrossing Task Force and Oversight Team. They have been dormant for many months, but the activity in preparation for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, delayed until July or so, calls them out of hibernation! (Or maybe it's zombie sleep...)
  • The next Oversight Team meeting has been scheduled. It will be held on March 1, 2011 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Mid Willamette Valley Council of Governments, 105 High Street, SE

  • The next Task Force meeting has been scheduled. It will be held on March 1, 2011 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Broadway Commons, 1300 Broadway Street, NE (Room #205)
It will be interesting to learn more about the status of things.

Council agenda this week is much less exciting. Most interesting is a Pedestrian Safety Grant application.

The City appears to have won a $3850 grant to fund "overtime enforcement of traffic laws that are intended to protect pedestrians and bicycles on roadways."

Councilor Clem proposes that an undeveloped park property adjacent to Eola Drive be developed concurrently with the Eola Drive road project in 2014-15. This looks like a terrific idea!

The City's Legislative Committee took positions on two rail-related bills: It opposes House Bill 2370 and supports HB2860. The split is a little interesting on the surface - any rail advocates want to comment on its significance?

The City's going to get a chunk of 12th Street right-of-way between Fairview and Vista for road widening.

There's further movement on the downtown "Economic Improvement District" administrator selection.

And vacancies on the Budget Committee and Planning Commission. Apply by March 11th, if you're interested.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Legislative Update - Week 4

The big transportation news this past week was that Governor Kitzhaber named former Chair of Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, Lynn Peterson, "sustainable communities and transportation policy adviser." It's too early to know in concrete terms what this appointment will mean, however.

What's new?

Senate Bill 846 would regulate standards for bicycle trailers. BikePortland reports there's not a lot of support behind it.

On Monday hearings on local control for speed limits are scheduled. (Details below.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oregon Bike Summit Rebrands in 2011: Active Transportation

As many know, the Oregon Bike Summit has been renamed the Active Transportation Summit.

It will be held in Salem this year and if you are curious, or interested in attending, here's the list of speakers:

Kristin Dahl, Travel Oregon (State of Oregon)
Rob Sadowsky, BTA (Portland)
Andy Clark, League of American Bicyclists (National)
Scott Bricker, America Walks (Portland, National)
Lynn Peterson, Chair, Clackamas County Commission (and now State)
Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong (National)
Gail Achterman, Chair, Oregon Transportation Commission (State)
Mia Birk, Alta Planning and Design (Portland)

And here's the list of breakout session leaders:

Legislative Priorities:
Gerik Kransky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance (Portland)
Ray Thomas, Swanson, Thomas & Coon (Portland)
Steph Routh, Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (Portland)

Politics – The Reality of the Legislature:
Randy Tucker, Metro (Portland)
Olivia Clark, TriMet (Portland)

Funding – Road Finance Reform:
Bob Stacey (Portland)
Gail Achterman (State)
Chris Rall, Transportation for America (National)
Andy Clarke, League of American Bicyclists (National)

Transportation Health Equity:
Mara Gross, Coalition for a Livable Future (Portland)
Dr. Philip Wu, Kaiser Permanente (Portland)
Lake McTighe, Metro (Portland)
Alison Graves, Community Cycling Center (Portland)
Noelle Dobson, Oregon Public Health Institute (Portland)

Sheila Lyons, Oregon Department of Transportation
Roger Geller, Portland Bureau of Transportation
Andrew Singelakis, Washington County Dept. of Land Use and Transportation
Lynn Weigand, Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (Portland)

Social Marketing Programs:
Lindsay Selser, City of Eugene
Jessica Roberts, Alta Planning + Design (Portland)
Alison Graves, Community Cycling Center (Portland)

Tourism Benefits of Active Transportation:
Scott Bricker, America Walks (Portland, National)
Kristin Dahl, Travel Oregon (State)
Alex Phillips, Oregon Parks and Recreation
Veronica Rinard, Travel Portland
Jerry Norquist, Cycle Oregon (Portland)
Chris Bernhardt, International Mountain Bicycling Association (National)

Bike Sharing Programs:
Mia Birk, Alta Planning + Design (Portland)
Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong (National)
Rob Sadowsky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance (Portland)

Regional Updates:
Lake McTighe, Metro (Portland)
Nathan Broom, Rogue Valley Transportation District

Folks can register here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

On Kuebler Project, Lone Oak Crossing Deserves More Love

Kuebler Boulevard's a tough nut to crack. On the one hand it's set up to be a parkway. Next to an interstate or other freeway it's the most auto-centric kind of road we have. The Transportation System Plan defines it as a
High capacity, high speed, roadway that primarily serves regional and intracity travel.
There are no driveways, no businesses fronting it, and it leads only through, never to anywhere. It doesn't do much more than pretend to be multi-modal; it's designed for single use.

At the same time, because Kuebler cuts off streets and disconnects neighborhoods, people on foot and on bike might have to use it. There might be no other way to get there.

So it has to be a little multi-modal.

Then what kinds of facilities for people who walk and bike are appropriate and really useful to significant numbers of people? And when the road is deficient, as it most certainly is, how cranky do you get? Solutions need deep, structural thinking, and paint or dainty squirts of concrete cake decoration won't solve the connectivity problems. So it's probably not worth getting too upset over in the near term. There's no low-hanging fruit here.

This is the general striping plan for Kuebler on the section for this summer. Six-foot bike lanes and transitions across right-turn lanes. Standard stuff. Meets current engineering standards (though the 2010 draft AASHTO Bike Guide recommends wider lanes on "high speed" and "high volume" roadways, p. 72), but really addresses needs of only confident cyclists. These are not facilities that will attract new people to bicycling or will make families feel comfortable going by bike.

The intersection at Lone Oak is more interesting. (This picture is rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise, so north is to the left.)

Lone oak connects to several schools and is striped with bike lanes on the north side of the intersection. It is also the best lowish-traffic north-south connector across Kueber.

Kuebler here is about 90 feet from curb-to-curb and adding in sidewalks and crosswalks the crossing distance is well over 100 feet. This is a long intersection.

All of the other crossings of Kuebler are very busy: Skyline, Liberty, Sunnyside, Commercial, and Battle Creek, rated "arterial" or more. As the only "collector" street, Lone Oak should get more attention to make it more comfortable for people on foot and on bike.

This intersection deserves additional treatments so that kids and families who wish to walk and bike across Kuebler have a more inviting and comfortable crossing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breakfast on Bikes Cancelled for Snow!

We bike when it's freezing and dry, and we bike when it's wet and cold, but the prospect of freezing and wet makes for a perfect time to use Cherriots!

It looks like Friday morning will be too icy and slick for fun. Take the bus and relax!

We'll catch you next month.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Super-Size Me! Open House on Wallace at Glen Creek Project

Tomorrow night learn about the intersection widening for Glen Creek and Wallace Road.

It might be the most important City road bond project (background analysis here) for people who walk and bike. This is an $11+ million project that will significantly enlarge the intersection and put more cars through it.

If you think it's difficult to cross the roads now, just wait until Wallace has 7 travel lanes and Glen Creek has 6. Getting to Roth's, the Post Office, the Library, the Transit Center, or the Union St. RR Bridge will be that much trickier for people who live in West Salem. It really makes the moat much deeper and wider.

(Click to enlarge)

5 car travel lanes will be added to 3 directions of travel through the intersection.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breakfast on Bikes this Friday

UPDATE: we're taking a snow day!

Breakfast on Bikes turns three this Friday! Thanks for joining us as we start the fourth year of sharing bikey cheer!

We will be at 12th & Chemeketa on the Promenade just east of the railroad tracks on Friday, February 25th. 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
Willamette University.

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

View Larger Map

Special thanks to Robert, Doug, & Gary, who've been with us since the start! Thanks also to Debbie & Jeff for helping out with many shifts! And to Guinne & Jill and anyone else who've helped with a shift or two! We rely on volunteers, so thank you, thank you!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Legislative Update - Week 3 - Presidents Day Edition

As has been widely reported, Governor Kitzhaber decided not to make a change at ODOT, and Matt Garrett will remain agency head.

What's new?

BikePortland reports a bike trailer law will be introduced.

Hearings on local control for speed limits and for school bus funding are scheduled this week.

And since it's President's Day, let's take a moment to look at new old things. Here's Teddy Roosevelt in a presidential motorcade from 1902.* He was apparently the second president to motor. McKinley had appeared in a steam-powered horseless carriage. Roosevelt's car was an early eV, a Columbia Electric Victoria Phaeton (here's some on the 1903 models). Roosevelt is surrounded by police on bikes. More things change, the more the stay the same?...or something like that.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blind School's Howard Hall Avoids Demolition, Saved for an Uncertain Future

Late last week, people walking and biking on Winter Street through the hospital campus could see the heavy equipment tearing down the blind school structures you see here.

The building with the blue door, the chimney, and the unpainted brick were all leveled already, and it was pretty neat, actually, to see the operator of the ginormous scoop gently strip the rain gutter off the next building and separate it with some other metals from the brick and wood. It looked like they would be recycling at least some of the building debris. (Whether big structural lumber and other choicer materials could be reused rather than simply recycled was not clear.)

Within a day, news came out that at least one of the buildings would be saved, and in today's Statesman, Elida Perez has more details and writes that
The application to demolish Howard Hall, a local landmark built in 1923 and the oldest remaining building on the former Oregon School for the Blind campus, has been denied.

The Historic Landmarks Commission denied the application during its monthly meeting Thursday.

About 12 people, including members of the blind community, South Central Association of Neighbors representatives and others, gave testimony against the approval of the application.
Not waiting for the final ruling, in response to the opposition Salem Health pulled the application. They said they had no plans actually to use the building, as rehabilitation would double the likely rents, but that they would revise landscaping to accommodate the building and its footprint.

This will be interesting to watch. Can a building like this be "banked" and mothballed with no intent to use for some years and then pulled out of "storage" for a later use? What happens to an unwanted historical building surrounded by a parking lot? And to what street or streets does Howard Hall mainly relate? How does it fit into the urban fabric? Does it have a future on Church Street in a way it might not on Winter or Mission?

The Statesman shows a two-story building, but the Blind School Sales material appears to show a single-story structure. (So I'm not even 100% sure what building is being saved!)

For more on the background of the proposed sale and the parking lot plans, see here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kuebler Road Project Open House Next Wednesday

Kuebler* will be widened this summer and the City's hosting an open house on Wednesday. If you live out south, consider attending.

Buffered bike lanes or cycletracks on Kuebler sure would be nice, but I bet they're not even a possibility. And, anyway, the intersection treatments, with the turning and crossing conflicts, are almost certainly more relevant. Transitioning the bike lanes safely across right-turn lanes, as well as ensuring safe north-south crossing at Sunnyside and especially at Lone Oak, will be key.

From the City's Press Release:
The City of Salem invites residents to attend an open house for the 2011 Kuebler Boulevard SE Widening Project on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, from 6-8 p.m., in the Media Center at Sumpter Elementary School, 525 Rockwood Street SE.

A short informational presentation will be made beginning at 6 p.m. Following the presentation, staff will be available to answer questions and explain how construction activities will occur along the corridor.

The Keep Salem Moving! Streets and Bridges Bond, passed by Salem voters in November 2008, included funds to widen Kuebler Boulevard SE from west of Lone Oak Road SE to Commercial Street SE by adding one additional travel lane in each direction (see attached map). In addition, right-turn lanes on Kuebler Boulevard SE will be added in each direction at the Lone Oak Road SE and Sunnyside Road SE intersections. The project will also provide curbs, sidewalks, and stormwater facilities. The main purpose of this project is to reduce congestion on Kuebler Boulevard SE.
(* When did it become Kuebler Boulevard? That sounds wrong! Erroneously, I see, I call it Keubler Road.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sustainable Cities Looks at South Downtown, Greenway to Bush Park

In today's Statesman, Beth Casper continues her terrific series on the Sustainable Cities Initiative. This time she looks at the South Downtown Project.

Helpfully, she's linked to four reports - so between her article and the reports, there's lots of information. (The City's page also links to the pdfs.)

The project aimed to retain the historic character of the neighborhood while also meeting the needs for increased density and walkable commerce.

For transportation, two things stand out in the proposal.
  • Restoring the Liberty/Commercial street couplet to two-way traffic. Commercial in particular would get a "grand boulevard" treatment, with through-traffic separated from local traffic by medians.
  • Creating a neighborhood greenway for people on foot and on bike between Bush Park and the River.
For a discussion of the east-west connectivity with Bush Park, see this. Other discussion of the neighborhood here and here.

The project and proposals are highly conceptual, of course, so it's not necessarily useful to drill too closely into the details. Still, the vision for a greenway along Bush Street would offer much better connections to the river than Owens, which is narrow and very busy, and Miller, which doesn't connect directly to the park, ending at Liberty rather than High, and dead-ends with a teeny-tiny connection to the two-way sidepath on River Road.

Restoring two-way traffic on roads continues to resonate in various projects around the city, and perhaps we'll get to see further momentum behind this. Merchants understand that the two-way traffic increases eye-balls on storefronts! Two-way is safer and better for business.

Help Organize a First Wednesday Rain Ride

Lots of you Salemites went to Portland for the Worst Day of the Year Ride.

So how about an Rain Ride for First Wednesday?!

Get in touch with Michelle of the Salem Bicycle Taxi at 503-569-7223 to help organize!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

City Club Forgets Eneloop, Misses on Efficiency and Sustainability

On Friday, the Salem City Club will feature "sustainable transportation," but the bike's nowhere to be seen. Even worse, the blurbage makes dubious claims about efficiency, and even the eV plug forgets about the Eneloop!
Beginning Friday, February 18, Salem City Club will launch a two-part sustainable transportation series that will focus on the most efficient use of transportation energy. The February 18, noon program will explore technology, infrastructure and policy supports for electric cars. In May, a second program will explore improved rail and other forms of mass transit.

In his recent State of the Union message President Obama challenged Americans to be the first nation to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. His challenge reflects the considered view of many scientists that America is on a collision path with reality regarding how we produce and use energy, including energy for transportation. It also reflects the promise and possibilities of electric vehicle technology.[bold added]
Since the focus is on electric power, where's the City's Eneloop? What about the Giant Twist Freedom, or the Raleigh, or the Trek?

How about regular, 100% human-powered bikes, the actual most efficient form of travel?

Any conversation about efficiency in "sustainable transportation" that omits the bicycle is just not very credible, unfortunately.

So if you happen to be headed to the City Club, ask about bikes and the Eneloop!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ODOT Building Renovations Benefit Chemeketa Bikeway

With the rain and all, here's a little bit of sunshine.

Construction at the Transportation Building has made truck delivery more difficult, and as a result a wider curb cut will make it easier for people biking on the Chemeketa Street bikeway.

On Sunday, you might have read Peter Wong's piece about the renovation of the Transportation Building.
The five-story Transportation Building, which opened 60 years ago on what is now the Capitol Mall, is being stripped to its bare walls. One of its concrete columns has been removed to make way for steel girders.

More than 400 employees of the Oregon Department of Transportation left their headquarters last fall for leased space on Fairview Industrial Drive SE, and most are scheduled to return to the renovated building by late 2012.

The project's total cost is pegged at $69.5 million, including services by SERA Architects of Portland, staff relocations, space leases and new furnishings. The actual work by Hoffman Construction Co. of Portland, 37 subcontractors and others is budgeted at $39.2 million.
The area on the northeast side of Chemeketa at the mall is all fenced off, but other state buildings still need deliveries.

According to Parks Manager Jim Bader, the T-building project worked with State Parks to expand the curb cut and to let trucks use the old bus lane through the mall. The increase in space has ancillary benefits for people on foot and bike!

Nevertheless, the bathrooms are still awkwardly located and offer blind corners, so caution remains necessary. People on foot use the mall often, and the wider curb cuts should not be an invitation to speed. People on bike should also avoid the center area between the bathrooms, as the doors open into this space.

Here's an old view from the other side - you can see the shrub Parks removed and the narrower curb cut from the first time around.

With the increased space, the work is an incremental improvement and allows people on bike to take the zig-zag by the bathrooms on a wider arc and with a corresponding improvement in visibility.

(Thanks to Jeff Leach for the recent photos!)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Legislative Update - Week 2 - Distracted Driving and Bike Traffic Lights

Now things are cooking! One bill has passed a chamber, and a few more have been introduced.

The most interesting new development may be the proposal to tighten up distracted driving laws and to eliminate the loophole permits people to use a mobile device while on the job. While enforcing the existing law does not seem currently to be a priority for law enforcement, expanding it cannot hurt. Still, an expansion will rouse opposition.

(For last week's action, see here.)

What's new?

Senate Bill 660 would decrease the "penalty for failure to stop for stop sign to maximum fine of $40 for person operating bicycle."

House Bill 3178 looks like it would encourage transit-oriented development to be funded by tax-increment financing. It would permit
local governments to propose transit benefit districts covering area within quarter-mile radius of rail stations. Provides that transit benefit districts are eligible for public works projects that support transit-oriented development, to be funded by property taxes assessed on increase in land value directly attributable to benefit derived by property from presence of rail station.
Maybe someone who knows more about TIF and land use can chime in?

House Bill 3186, co-sponsored by Representative Berger, would expand the texting and cel phone ban and would remove the "exception for person operating motor vehicle in scope of person’s employment from offense of operating motor vehicle while using mobile communication device." It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

City Council, Feb 14th - Downtown Circulation and the Bridges

What's more romantic than spending Valentine's Day at City Council?

Almost anything!

But the schedule's a hard master, and while Ducks football merits rescheduling Council for the next day, the holiday for love does not. (Is this how jaded we all are about Valentine's Day?)

At Council are a few transportation related items - a request to fund a downtown circulation study and an interesting note about needing money for bridge planning.

Urban Renewal Agency

On the Urban Renewal Agency agenda is a request for $180K to fund a Central Salem Circulation, Access, and Mobility Study. This arises out of the 2009 TGM grant applications (here and here) as well as the Sustainable Cities circulation study. The request also includes $40K from Public Works contingency funds (a separate item on the City Council agenda).
The study is expected to recommend and evaluate the costs, benefits, and impacts of alternatives and solutions on traffic circulation (transit, freight, vehicle), efficiency and throughput; operations (signalization, speed, turning movements); on-street parking; mobility and safety for all modes (including bicycle and pedestrian), and order of magnitude cost....One of the first tasks identified in the scope of work is to complete a data collection exercise which would result in traffic count and turning movement information for a series of intersections inside the Riverfront Downtown URA and outside the boundary of the district.
Interestingly, the public works request for $40K also includes a note that it will fund bike counts! Though it appears the counts will be semi-automated using existing video cameras.

Friday, February 11, 2011

City Council to Consider Greenhouse Gas Reduction Efforts Monday

On Monday at 5:30pm, before the Council session at 6:30pm, Salem City Council, along with Councilors from Turner and Keizer, will participate in a work session on greenhouse gas reduction efforts in land use and transportation.

Email your City Councilor and let them know greenhouse gas and climate change matters.

(Over the weekend look for a full Council preview.)

Chart from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. the red is the seasonal variation from summer to winter - the earth breathes, you could say. Black is a smoothed curve.

The New York Times and NPR on Charles Keeling, the creator of the "Keeling Curve."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

West Salem School Boundaries Affect Active Transportation

In yesterday's Statesman, Stephanie Knowlton wrote about the planning process for new school boundaries in West Salem.

It's a complicated issue with lots of variables and values.

School siting and boundaries are important ingredients, however, in making it possible for kids to walk, bike, or skateboard to school. And we know that active kids learn better.

At the same time, because of terrain - the hills and flats - housing costs, and other factors, geography intersects with demographics in important ways, and this sometimes complicates school equity.

The proposal would split West Salem at Glen Creek Road, sending kids south of it to Walker, and north of it to the new Straub Middle School.

Knowlton says
Several parents urged the Salem-Keizer School Board to carefully consider the proposed West Salem school boundaries Tuesday night, particularly because it might concentrate the poorest students at one middle school.
She notes that
The recommendation deviates from the district's typical feeder system, in which all students from certain elementary schools feed into a specific middle school. Instead it would use a geographic approach that draws a line down Glen Creek Road NW with the south side attending Walker and the north side attending Straub.
An important reason for the geographic approach was best to preserve neighborhood schools.
Melissa Cole, Salem-Keizer's middle school education director, listed reasons including transportation costs and keeping kids close to neighborhoods so they can walk home from after-school activities.
In a brief post it's not possible even to approach a quality analysis. But it's easy to say: If you live in West Salem, have kids, and value active transportation, get involved!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Weigh in on Keizer Station Area C

(Keizer Station Area C)

The Keizer Planning Commission meets tonight to talk about Keizer Station. If you want to learn more, or have an opinion:
DATE AND TIME OF HEARING: Planning Commission on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 6:00 PM.

LOCATION OF HEARING: Keizer City Council Chambers, Keizer City Hall, 930 Chemawa Road NE, Keizer.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Anyone desiring to speak for or against the proposal may do so in person, or by representative, at the public hearing or may submit written comments with the Keizer Community Development Department prior to the public hearing.
Here's what it currently looks like:

(Existing Conditions)

Is the area economy really best served by concentrated car storage, the restricted mobility choice it entails, and the kinds of stores it serves? (To be fair, Cherriots is building a transit center nearby, but really...)

Update, January 23rd, 2015

Part of new proposal for the southwest corner
From the paper today:
Anchoring those new changes? A 160-unit senior living retirement facility to be managed by Bonaventure Senior Housing.

Mountain West, which is partnering with Bonaventure in the development application, is also proposing 180 multi-family apartment units to be built alongside the senior living facility.

"These will be market-rate apartments," said Brian Moore, director of real estate with Mountain West. "It's not low-income housing. We're excited for this opportunity to do what we think is a very attractive project in our home, meaning the Salem/Keizer community."

The new proposal starts with the senior living facility and the multi-family units. The idea is to develop the property in phases and add infrastructure to the rest of Area C that would later support commercial and mixed-use retail space.

The plan still includes allocated square footage for the larger format store once feared to be a Walmart. But in the new application, the proposed space is limited at 80,000 square feet.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cycle Oregon Cycle Centennial hits Salem July 15-17

It's official! Cycle Oregon's Summer Weekend Ride, July 15-17, will be based at Willamette University, and head out to Silverton, the Oregon Garden, Willamette Mission, and Champoeg.

Cycle-ogical Touring: More Cello and Summer Bike Fun

A couple of summer events just hit the B on B radar. One needs to be created, the other will be announced tonight.

The Ginger Ninjas, a bicycle powered band, will be touring this summer, and they can make a stop in Salem! A very lucky few got to see them a couple of years ago, and maybe Salem can get a bigger audience this year. They'll be available around the first of July. Ross organized the shows last time and I hope he can bring them again!

Cycle Oregon tonight in Beaverton will announce routes for both the weekend and weeklong tours, and tipsters suggest that the Salem area may find something of interest. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Legislative Update - Week 1 - Tempests in Teapots? New Interest in Texting Ban

Little of substance happened, but the baby ban and headphone ban elicited much fuss and worry.

Doug offered important analysis on the costs of overreaction and the virtues of a certain patience.

What's new?

The Statesman reported that Rep. Vicki Berger will introduce a total ban on text messaging while driving. I can't find the article, but this focus on distracted driving is surely more constructive to get behind than focusing opposition on an unlikely headphone ban. Let her know you support the idea! So stay tuned.

Bills Specifically about Bicycling

Senate Bill 130 for bicycle traffic lights. BikePortland has coverage of the City of Portland's testimony here and the text of the testimony here. The bill got a "do pass" recommendation in committee and a second reading on the 3rd. This is viable and looks likely to pass.

Senate Bill 604 will be a gut-n-stuff. It's been referred to Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee. Here's a statement from Senator Burdick's office on it. This is not a viable bill with known content at this time.

House Bill 2228 prohibits bike transportation of child under 6 years old. Referred to Transportation and Economic Development Committee, but dead as currently written.

House Bill 2331 to study bicycle licensing. Referred to Ways and Means. No action.

House Bill 2602, the headphone ban. Referred to Judiciary Committee. BikePortland reports that it is scheduled for a Thursday hearing at 1pm. However, the Committee agenda for that day shows bills 2141, 2142, 2648, and 2652 only. The hearing cannot be confirmed. Former BTA Executive Directer Evan Manvel has interesting thoughts here. For the other side, Jack's always reliable.

Relevant to Transportation Generally

Senate Bill 266 on electronic tolling. Referred to Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee.

House Bill 2333 prohibiting studded tires. Referred to Transportation and Economic Development Committee.

House Bill 2437 on school busing. Referred to Revenue Committee.

Proposed Oregon Constitutional Amendment to permit gas taxes to be used for pollution control and congestion reduction. Referred to Revenue Committee.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Forget the Gridiron Gladiator! Think Bike Racing Instead

If a football game is just many brutal falls to earth, what is bicycling but flight and a magical escape from gravity's tyranny?

Forget the Superbowl! Think about bike racing and road riding. The season starts in a couple of months, and there's an increasing number of local races.

March 19 (Saturday) - Willamette Capitol Cup Criterium, Salem, OR; Watch packs of racers speed around a 1KM multi-corner loop towards an all-out sprint finish.

April 9 (Saturday) - King's Valley Road Race, Dallas, OR.

April 23, 30, May 7 (Saturdays) - Happy Ravens Time Trial, McMinnville, OR.

April 24, May 29, September 4 (Sundays) - Black Rock Flow Cup Downhill, Falls City, OR. Downhill freeriding!

May 14, 15 (Saturday, Sunday) - Silverton Roadrace Championships.

June 26 (Sunday) - Salem Fairview Circuit Race. A circuit race, in length, is between a road race and a criterium. Racers complete several loops of the course before an all-out sprint.

August 1, 8, 15, 22 (Mondays) - Salem Short Track. Racers ride either their cyclocross bike or mountain bike through a man-made dirt 'short track' course at the Fairgrounds. Some even ride singlespeeds!

The complete spring and summer racing schedule is at the OBRA schedule page.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fareless Buses in Corvallis: Now that's Sustainabilty and Vision!

Wow. While the Salem-Keizer area struggles to support a viable bus system, and indeed may be strangling it, Corvallis just applied rocket fuel to theirs.

On February 1, the Corvallis Transit System went fareless.

According to the Gazette-Times
CTS became fareless on Feb. 1 because of a Transit Operations Fee passed by the Corvallis City Council. It added $2.75 to single-family residential customers’ bill each month. The fee is one of three new Sustainability Initiatives Fees totaling $4.05 a month for most customers.

The other two fees support maintenance of sidewalks and city trees.

The fee for transit operations replaced the portion of the city’s general fund (property taxes) previously dedicated to transit, making those funds available for other uses such as the library, parks and recreation, police and fire departments. It also insulates the transit fund from possible cuts to the general fund to deal with the city’s $3.1 million revenue shortfall.

The fee was adopted by the Corvallis City Council after passing three separate council votes between September and December 2010.
While Salem takes relatively timid baby steps towards sustainability, here's a bold one. It will be interesting to see how this affects boardings and passenger miles.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Public Workshop on ODOT Environmental Permitting Feb 22

Part of the omnibus "Jobs and Transportation Act," HB 2001 passed by the 2009 Legislature, is a section on improving the way projects take into consideration environmental factors.

There will be a public workshop in Salem on Tuesday, February 22, at ODOT Technical Services, 4040 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE, from 4 to 7pm.

The meetings are informal workshops with presentations at 4:30 and 6pm, and are intended for interested citizens.

The process will likely cut both ways: On the one hand, it will seek to make projects greener, and hopefully this will include a framework that recognizes the way roads induce additional demand and add carbon emissions. This could lead to a wider embrace and funding for other mobility solutions - like bicycling! On the other hand, the process may also look to eliminate "roadblocks" constituted by various kinds of environmental review.

It will be interesting to watch.

Indoor Cycling Studio Grand Opening on Friday

Breakfast on Bikes is all about commuting, bike transportation, and being outdoors.

But what do you do when rehabilitating from an injury, training for competitive rides, the weather's just too crappy for fun, or you're not yet comfortable sharing the road with autos and want the fitness benefits from bicycling?

Joyride Cycling Studio has a solution.

On Friday, at 10:30am, the Salem Chamber of Commerce will officially open and welcome Joyride Cycling Studios.

Lorie and Jeff Bickford did a soft opening very late last year, but now they are ready for everything!

The studio's tucked in a building at the corner of Browning and Commercial SE.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Wednesday Newsbits

(Signage design: BAM Agency)

Rick Yurk of BAM will be at Travel Salem during First Wednesday to talk about the wayfinding project. He's got new poletop icons and wants feedback! He says he'll have
a draft of the WIC map, a prototype pole/icon, and an updated draft of icons for review (the series has grown from 6 to 10). In case that's not enough, there will also be a few wineries offering tastings during evening out.
Senator Ginny Burdick introduced Senate Bill 604, which appears to be another try at an Idaho Stop law. (Great video explanation here.) Not sure if it will have any more traction this year, however. On the surface it looks more symbolic than viable, but we'll see soon enough.

Maybe most excitingly, South Salem High School will be breaking ground shortly for a new bike parking installation at the front door.

Look for more in the next month!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cargo Bike Visits Breakfast last Friday

The highlight of Breakfast on Friday was surely John's new Yuba cargo bike!

It was all shiny and new and lots of people admired it.

Looks like you could get several days of groceries in it. Cargo bikes are at present little used in Salem, and they can help individuals and families avoid the need for a second car.

Thanks for bringing it by!

Xtracycle longtail conversions can do much the same.