Portland Milestone, 100th Bike Corral & The Largest Valet Bike Parking in The World

All courtesy of Streetsblog. I also saw the Seattle Bike Blog entry “Portland has upgraded 163 car parking spaces to create 1,644 bike spots” on the news and gotta say, that headline really points out what kind of boost to business a few bike corrals here and there have versus auto parking. Bike parking provides about 10x the parking for about … ? I’m not sure what fraction of the cost. If one had the same footprint – 163 car spaces removed and you had to make room for 1644 parking spots that would equal to about a 10 story auto parking facility. Which I’m sure would cost a bit more than the 163 parking places. So how much do people really pay for parking? I can only imagine the costs. To summarize, the United States has been getting the shaft by focusing on auto dependency in urban areas.

and

 

 

Cuz’ The Northwest is Rocking the Cycling and Seattle is Starting to Lead the Pack!

Recently Seattle stepped up its game even more. Not only is a streetcar line soon to open between King Street Station, First Hill and Capital Hill but also a cycle track is going in on Broadway. I knew all about the streetcar line going in but holy moly I’d no idea they were getting a cycle track too. A trip will be scheduled and I’ll be aiming to bring some of the cycle track and streetcar action to you via Transit Sleuth TV once they’re both open! Here’s a sneak peek via Streetsblog.

The streetcar system is connecting three major points in Seattle, this is going to be a pretty big deal. Here’s a summary of the four places. For more official information about the streetcar service, check out Seattle Streetcar.

King Street Station @ Pioneer Square area to Chinatown then thru First Hill & Capital Hill

King Street Station is the Amtrak Station that has recently been returned to it’s proper magnificent glory of yesteryear. In some ways it is also the northern terminus for Sounder commuter rail service from Tacoma and the southern terminus for Sounder service to Everett. It’s a gorgeous station, worth a trip by itself. There are a number of other things in the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle that are worth checking out. This area along with King Street Station is basically the southern terminus of the line. The line then traverses part of the International District (or still commonly referred to as Chinatown in Seattle) and then turns in the First Hill area. It continues through the First Hill area and into Capital Hill, which is one of the dense urban areas of the city where music, art and livability thrive. It also is partly rooted to the future Link Light Rail Station for Capital Hill. This connection point is poised to be one of the busiest areas of the city in the coming years, easily transforming the very vibrancy and life of Seattle.

The Broadway Cycletrack

If there is a sure fire way to avoid streetcar tracks on a bike, it’s to have a cycle track right next to them! Seattle has planned for this and the Broadway Street segment is going to have just that. Here’s a cross cut view of the cycle track next to the streetcar and road traffic on Broadway.

Seattle Transportation Department also has more information about cycletracks going in around Seattle along with some information about ones elsewhere.

Detroit, More Grass Roots to Show Us How To Do It!

So Detroit has been notorious for hitting the bottom of the barrel. In large part because so many people that should have cared, gave up and surrendered the city. Also because the city was run inappropriately. The list of issues, concerns, screw ups, racism, discrimination, spite, infighting, bad culture, car dependency and other things that have sunk this once great city is long. Extremely long. One thing that is becoming apparent though, and if the citizens of the once great city have anything to do about it, is that the city has life and that life intends to live well. It intends to give the city a rebirth of sorts.

Of course, there are a number of completely idiotic things that the city is doing, such as taking money to expand an interstate. Note, the city is at about 600k people versus the 2+ million the infrastructure is designed for. However, as I was saying, even in spite of these completely insane moves that are further sinking the city government, the city’s people are breathing new life into things that truly matter. Here’s a video of some of the cycling community taking to the streets for critical mass, to help out kids and provide after school activities and more. It’s a very heart lifting video.

Also, if that isn’t enough, Detroit has lit off one very unique bus company too. (I previously posted this some months ago, but it’s worth mentioning again!)

Multnomah Street, Illegal Parking and Street Vandelism – Who to Call?

Alright fellow Portlanders, transit riders, bike riders and pedestrians – and hell, motorists too! Who does one call when people are illegally blocking the lane, illegally parked and blocking the cycle track, have vandalized or destroyed the road and amenities around the road to get these things fixed? Can I just volunteer to fix these things?

On NE Multnomah Street the city installed a cycle track from 15th all the way down to the Rose Quarter. Some of it is indeed just a bike lane, but much of it is a wonderfully relaxing cycle track. Except when motorists screw up and park inside and on top of the cycle track itself. How does this happen? Here’s a photo of a recent issue I encountered when riding that forced myself and Kristen @kristenmozian into the road. Which is fine in many ways, I’ve no problem taking the lane. However I tend to prefer not riding in the road with motorists if I don’t have to.

The cycle track with 6+ cars parked in it. (Click for full size! Also, plz excuse the distortion, a Nissan Pathfinder drove by while I was taking the panoramic shot)

The cycle track with 6+ cars parked in it. (Click for full size! Also, plz excuse the distortion, a Nissan Pathfinder drove by while I was taking the panoramic shot)

If you look to the left side and right side of this photo, you’ll notice not a single automobile is parked in the actual parkings spots. All indicating non-locals confused about what they’re doing. Another confusing matter, is all of the little plastic bollards are stripped from the street. Possibly because people have driven over them or what not. We really need some clearly marked METAL bollards. Ya know, kind of like they use when they actually intend to have real parking and divisions that are clearly marked. Here are some great examples of Bollards that actually count.

Here’s a map of where the obstructions were today. Between #1 and #2 was the roadway where the cars were parked in the cycle track. At #4 was were planters where moved from the yellow area into the cycle-track lane. At #3 was were more bollards have been knocked down or vandalized making them either invisible to motorists and cyclists or almost invisible. Which brings me to the next few points on this corridor.

NE Multnomah Street, with the obstruction and vandalism points. Click for full size image.

NE Multnomah Street, with the obstruction and vandalism points. Click for full size image.

The Planters Are Out of Place!!

This is a problem for motorists and cyclists. The planters on Multnomah along the bike way are also knocked out of place in a few places. The planters act as the primary division between the road and the cycle track. If the city wants people to bike who ordinarily wouldn’t come near a bike lane in the regular road, this isn’t going to help if one of the main cycle tracks in the city is treated as some back water country road. So that leaves me with some questions…

Questions!

  1. How does one get these things fixed?
  2. Is there a hotline?
  3. Is the city actually responsible for these things?
  4. Is there a way to start a drive, donate to or otherwise get these bollards upgraded to the point that they’re actually worth something?
  5. Maybe get a volunteer community group together to monitor and make sure the city stays on top of these problems?

I’m open to getting these things fixed, I’m open to volunteering and donating cash to make it happen. But if they aren’t going to get fixed in a serious and legitimate way (re: see the REAL bollards above) then I’d rather just get some critical mass events going to piss off the status quo. It seems Portland really is starting to need a solid re-awakening of its rebel spirit, because it’s become a place that is assumed to be ahead of the curve, but the city has started to just rest on its laurels.

Not good Portland. Let’s get going and kick some ass and get things back into gear. We’ve got progress to make toward a better future. As it is, we’re dumping crap on the next generation and shortchanging the city!

Reading Portland Transport, The Roman Candle Bakery Came Up…

There’s an article over at Chris Smith’s blog Portland Transport on “Repeating the Sins of Other Modes“. I left a comment since I’m intimately familiar with the area now. I’ll leave it to you to read the article (even you guys that were jack asses and got banned from commenting can at least read it). Here’s my comment however on Division Street and the immediately few blocks where the Roman Candle Bakery Co. is located at.

“Ah, very cool you stopped by there. It’s a great joint. I live barely a block away and am there regularly. The bike racks are routinely consumed by the employees of Roman Candle and the other businesses that are located in that building (there are more than the two you can see from the street). In addition there is minimal parking for bikes near the car-free apartments also, which has street level businesses. Matter of fact, let’s lay this out real quick.

Roman Candle*, Pok Pok, Whiskey Soda, Caffe Pallino, Kuava House, Detour Cafe, Artigiano, Salt & Straw* and other businesses along this street ALL have significant numbers of employees that bike to work. All stats that the city has zero way to measure – pumping up bike commuter numbers even higher than they appear in trending analysis. The #4 brings nobody to work that I’ve observed to any of these businesses. It does however bring customers. The irony is, there is this big complaint about the supposed lack of auto-parking in the area, which may one day exist. Currently though the only REAL shortage of parking is for cyclists along this route. During the course of the day all the parking, corals, bike racks on sidewalk and more are routinely filled up along with all the signs and posts of sorts along the way.

The cycling traffic in this corridor is only posed to explode even more with the Clinton Street bike corridor connecting directly to the bike highway over the new transit/ped/bike bridge.

Anyway, that might shine some insight on this area. It’s heavily, HEAVILY trafficked by bikes.

A few more tidbits.

One thing I noticed about people – that are obviously not Portlanders – is they tend to come in two different ways to the area to eat, drink and be merry. The Vancouverites who can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other come by car. People from New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities almost always come by cab. On Friday and Saturday night Pok Pok has an almost unending stream of Taxis bringing 1, 2, 3 and sometimes 4 or 5 people to Pok Pok. The line doesn’t end until late and the businesses across the street also routinely have taxis dropping people off. This is a great thing considering many, if not all partake in good beverages over there. Usually not to the point of “drunkiness” but it sure beats em’ trying to drive to and fro.

Overall, in the near future it appears that two major things will have to happen at some point.

1. Something is going to need to be done with the automobiles on Clinton that use it as a thruway to 39th. They speed and more than a few end up just blowing through the stop signs and pass dangerously, ESPECIALLY during rush hour when Clinton Street is packed with an unending stream of cyclists going by. I do mean unending too. Often spaced side by side or one after another, sometimes packed together. But from about 4-6pm the road should be primarily cyclists, the motorists pose a dangerous risk and are not following the intended corridor of Division.

2. Transit service is going to need bumped up as well as bicycle amenities along this corridor. If the apartments that are car-free are truly going to attract people without cars (which there is reasonable estimation that a number of people there will actually be car-free) they’ll really need to have some bus service, and right now the #4 is not particularly frequent nor is it reliable. Maybe that’ll change one day but right now… damn it’s frustrating when there is commonly a gap between buses that exceeds 30 minutes when they’re supposed to be *frequent*.”

So go leave a comment over there or leave one here, whatever the case. What would your solutions be to the pending carpocalypse of parkingocalypse in the Division street area? I’m real curious what you think of the pending issues with the Clinton Street bike boulevard corridor. A street which is by all means paid for with general budget funds with not a penny to be seen from the gas tax. Do bikes, the most numerous and efficient users of the street get a little protection or do the corridor runners get precedence still? Sharing is all grand (not really for many) but when you’re routinely threatened because the cars can’t “get around” ya through the small road and they start playing chicken with the oncoming traffic, things are about to get super sketch.

The Older San Diego Light Rail

While in San Diego recently I noticed these oddball looking contraptions near the doors.

As I rode along I wasn’t sure what they do. There wasn’t too many people on when I first boarded, only people boarding. So here I was, pondering what they were for and then finally saw some people jabbing them with their fingers. Then I moved at sat near one to see what people were doing to it. Alas, there was the answer, it was the button to open the door to exit the train! Wierd!