Archive for June, 2011

Final 50’s Bikeway Open House Tonight

Posted in News on June 29th, 2011 by AROW – Comments Off on Final 50’s Bikeway Open House Tonight
If you haven’t submitted your feedback or shown support for this project, here is your last opportunity to do so.  Please stand up in support of traffic calming, traffic diversion (diverters) and the safest 50’s bikeway we can build.
This is a final reminder that the NE/SE 50s Bikeway Project will be hosting its second Open House TONIGHT, Wednesday evening, June 29th from 5 to 8 pm at the corner of SE 52nd Avenue and SE Woodstock Blvd.
50s Bikeway Public Open House

TONIGHT: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Drop in anytime between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, 5329 SE Woodstock Blvd

TriMet Bus #71 and #19
Auto parking is available behind church, at SE 52nd and SE Knight Street.
Additional bicycle parking will be provided.
For more information please contact:
• Rich Newlands, Project Manager, 503.823.7780rich.newlands@portlandoregon.gov
• Sarah Figliozzi, Project Manager, 503.823.0805sarah.figliozzi@portlandoregon.gov

The open house is an opportunity for residents to see and comment on the final recommendation before the plan is submitted to Council for approval this summer. Members of the Citizen Advisory Committee and PBOT staff will be available to hear your comments and answer your questions. Please join us anytime between 5:00 and 8:00 pm.

The NE/SE 50s Bikeway is a proposed 4.5 mile north-south bike route linking Rose City Park, Mount Tabor and Woodstock neighborhoods. The project design includes safety improvements at major crossings, enhanced signage, traffic semi-diverters, and bicycle lanes in area with high traffic volume and speed. On-street parking is proposed to be removed on the east side of the street on SE 52nd Avenue between SE Division Street and SE Woodstock Boulevard to accommodate the bicycle lanes.

Additional information about the 50s Bikeway Project can be found here: www.portlandonline.com/transportation/50sbikeway

50’s Bikeway Approved by Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association

Posted in News on June 16th, 2011 by Doug – Comments Off on 50’s Bikeway Approved by Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association

I attended, along with 120 others, the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association Meeting yesterday.  The 50s Bikeway would travel on 52nd in Mt. Tabor.  South of Division St., bike lanes will be provided, removing one side of parking.  As the bikeway travels north of Division on 52nd into the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, it enters a section of 52nd which is classified as a Local street, but still sees high volumes.  The plan proposes a diverter at Division to force auto traffic east or west on Division, hopefully to Neighborhood Collector streets 50th and 60th.  Those living on 52nd look forward to the reduced traffic.  Those on 51st, 53rd and 54th fear that the traffic will divert to their narrow streets, although PBOT’s estimations are that it won’t.

After the presentations, Michelle LaFoe proposed an up and down vote on the whole project. This was amended to be tabled, so the vote on that was delayed.

After much rhetoric, tabling of motions, etc., here’s what the voting was.

The vote on the project as proposed, with a test of a diverter at 52nd, and a rt. turn lane on Div. at 50th, was voted down 55 yes to 56 no.

The next vote was on a proposal by Mike Shaver, MTNA Transportation committee chair, but speaking on his own. Mike’s proposal is: Do the 52nd Diverter, plus a diverter at 51st, and stop signs on 53rd and 54th and Sherman, and perhaps speed bumps on those streets. This proposal garnered 68 yes votes, and 39 no votes.

After this, some folks left. The third vote was on a proposal by John Laursen, to do a test of minimal measures, basically the turn lane at 50th, and a couple of “pinch points” on 52nd between Division and Lincoln. This proposal got 51 yes to 43 no votes.

A vote on a motion to not vote on the entire bikeway plan (“seeing as how the neighborhood was so divided”) was overwhelmingly voted down in a voice vote.

The final, voice vote, at about 9:50 PM, was overwhelmingly to send a letter to the city, supporting the 50s Bikeway Project, but noting that the neighborhood was divided regarding the diverter, and listing the results of the first 3 votes in the letter.

The sense of those in attendance , and hopefully it will appear this way to Council, was that the neighborhood supports the diverter at 52nd, as long as there’s one at 51st also, and some tweaks on 53rd and 54th. Opponents of the diverter may try to “spin” this differently at the Council hearing.

Ensuring A Carfree Ankeny Is Accesible To All Portlanders

Posted in News on June 15th, 2011 by Michael – 2 Comments

Today the emergency ordinance to close SW Ankeny between SW 2nd and SW 3rd to vehicular traffic and allow the businesses along that block to set up sidewalk cafes came before City Council. You can read the ordinance (item #611) here.

Jeri Jenkins of PBOT laid out the basics, that each business would be granted a sidewalk cafe license and those serving alcohol would have to comply with OLCC regulations. Bruce Carey, co-owner of the new restaurant opening on the corner of SW Ankeny & 3rd (across from Voodoo Doughnuts) also spoke to the desire of all the businesses to be able to expand their seating areas and create a European-style atmosphere. Jenkins also said there are plans to put a bike corral in at one end (the south end, I think?), which would serve as a visual and physical buffer making it clear that the street is no longer open to traffic.

Amanda Fritz had some concerns about traffic, and then about equity (specifically with regard to the Sidewalk Management Ordinance), which is and always has been my concern. Then Sisters of the RoadI testified (see below) on behalf of Sisters of the Road and Fritz indicated support for our issues with all this. She said she would not vote for it unless some provision is made for seating being available for people who are not customers of the businesses along that block. Jenkins and Carey and a guy who I think owns(?) Voodoo Doughnuts then conferred and decided they didn’t feel comfortable agreeing to that change without consulting the other businesses, though neither Carey nor the other fellow had a problem with the idea of some seating being available to anyone, even if they weren’t customers. So everyone is coming back at 2pm (myself included) to see if everybody agrees. Because this is an emergency ordinance, the Council needs to pass it unanimously.

At this point, the options are:
1) The configuration is changed a little and it passes this afternoon (all the other Commissioners seemed happy with it as is).
2) The configuration is changed and it comes back next week. But it does get changed, and it gets passed next week as an emergency ordinance. This would set the projected start date of June 20th back a week.
3) The configuration is left as is, it comes back next week as a regular ordinance. Fritz votes against it but is outvoted by the rest of Council, and it has to wait 30 days to take effect, which would set the start date back to late July.

So we’ll see. More to come.

This is the text of my testimony:

City Council Agenda item 611: Emergency Ordinance to close SW Ankeny between SW 2nd & SW 3rd

My name is Michael Moore and I am on the Board of Directors of Sisters of the Road.

Commissioner Fritz and Mayor Adams, you conducted last month’s well-attended public forum about the new Office of Equity. I hope you were able to convey to the other Commissioners the palpable sense of frustration in the room over longstanding city policies and practices that continue to promote inequity. These policies continue to push low-income Portlanders and people of color out of their neighborhoods at alarming rates, as documented in 2010 Census, and are responsible for the 17-year decline in affordable housing stock in the central city – a decline that even the opening of the Bud Clark Commons does not stem. Time and again that evening, one message came through loud and clear: Promoting equity starts with city government policy itself, which must put equity foremost in all applicable decision making. We at Sisters do not believe this ordinance, as currently conceived, does that.

Our concern about the ordinance as proposed is that it walls off what is currently public space for the exclusive benefit of a handful of business owners, while making no provision for the benefit of anyone who can not afford to patronize these businesses. We’re concerned that we will see the same problems here we see in Pioneer Courthouse Square, one of the three locations where people experiencing poverty and homelessness are most frequently cited for violating the Sidewalk Management Ordinance. We’re concerned because of the classicist message that the city will send when signs indicate that sitting or lying anywhere along the rest of SW Ankeny is forbidden, while this stretch will provide outdoor seating and relaxation only for those of economic means. We’re concerned that this will be another in a growing list of ostensibly public spaces around Portland in which the Equity Forum’s message is lost, and a different message comes through loud and clear: “If you don’t have money, you aren’t welcome here.”

I’d like to quote from the conclusions of Commissioner Fritz’s September 10, 2009 report on the Sharing Public Spaces Community Forum:

“The Council cannot solve the problems alone. Multiple agencies, community partners, and individual citizens are needed to participate constructively. In fact, every Portlander, every business owner and worker, and every visitor must be part of the solution, to support actions that allow sharing public spaces equitably, compassionately, and responsibly. ”

We feel strongly that it is not too much to ask that the City Council live up to the goals identified in that report. To support actions that allow sharing public spaces equitably, compassionately, and responsibly, we request that the Council require that a portion of the seating in this revamped public space be made available for the use of anyone who would like to use it, even if they cannot afford a gourmet crepe, and that it suspend enforcement of the Sidewalk Management Ordinance for people using that seating as a place to rest.

UPDATE: From my perspective, it didn’t go too well. Ms. Jenkins came back, Mr. Carey and Trace (the owner of Voodoo Doughnuts) did not. The owners of three of the affected businesses are out of town, so they’re position remained that they didn’t feel comfortable agreeing to any changes until they could speak to them. Totally understandable, IMO. Fritz wouldn’t vote for it without some provision for truly public seating (as opposed to customer seating only, which is what the current plan calls for). Randy Leonard is all for it the way it is and said adding some provision for public seating would create “issues,” according to the City Attorney’s office, whom he said he spoke with during the break. He did not specify what those issues might be. My guess is that it might have to do with liability. Leonard also said some things that I feel mischaracterized our position and insinuated we were trying to make the whole thing into some kind of conflict between “the homeless” and the business owners, which is not at all the case. We simply want public space to welcome all of the public.

So the vote went 4-1 and because it was an emergency ordinance, it failed. Leonard changed his vote to ‘nay’ so he could reintroduce it as a regular ordinance. Today’s events constitutes the first reading. Next week it will come before Council again for another reading and a vote, and because it won’t be an emergency ordinance anymore, it will pass 4-1 (probably). Then it goes into effect 30 days later. That means the whole thing gets pushed back a month and it won’t get going until late July, instead of June 20th as originally planned. Not, I don’t think, what anyone wanted.

There may be some chance of meeting with Carey or Trace or some of the others between now and next week, but we’ll have to see. I did get to talk to Jenkins for a few minutes outside chambers and my impression is that she felt blindsided by all of this coming up at the last minute. Again, totally understandable, but I wish there had been a process or forum where we could have raised these issues in advance. I raised them at the last Sharing Public Sidewalks meeting earlier this month, but no one from PBOT was there (Rich was called away for a meeting with the Mayor). Fritz also indicated, if I understood her correctly, that she felt left out of the loop on this. It seems like Tom Miller pretty much worked things out with the business owners and didn’t involve anyone else, but that might also be mischaracterizing things. That’s just what it looks like from where we sit — and we were certainly never invited to the table, never given an opportunity to offer input. Anyway, I felt bad about anything I did that may have seemed like an ambush to Jenkins.

AROW-inspired Pedalpalooza Rides

Posted in News on June 10th, 2011 by Ryan – Comments Off on AROW-inspired Pedalpalooza Rides

Just wanted to give you all a heads up on 3 Pedalpalooza rides
inspired by AROW folks.

The first is today, in one hour, the “Tear Down I-5” ride.  We will
meet on the top of the Morrison Bridge and tour ODOT facilites in the
Central City.

The next is next Wednesday at the Pedalworks Shop at 345 NW Everett
where we are going to share lessons from Latin American bike activists
and Sunday Parkways throughout the Americas
.

A week from tomorrow, we are going to be reclaiming our right to use
the Willamette River in non motorized vessels with “PADDLEPALOOZA!

Please come join us on these fun/wonky rides!

Metro Council to Vote on CRC Approval this Thursday. Sound in, Show up!

Posted in News on June 8th, 2011 by AROW – Comments Off on Metro Council to Vote on CRC Approval this Thursday. Sound in, Show up!
The proposed Columbia River Crossing is much more than just a bridge. It will widen I-5 considerably, setting the scene for a future highway expansion in Central Portland, where I-5 bottlenecks into 2 lanes. Slide: Spencer Boomhower

The proposed Columbia River Crossing is much more than just a bridge. It will widen I-5 considerably, setting the scene for a future highway expansion in Central Portland, where I-5 bottlenecks into 2 lanes. Slide: Spencer Boomhower

Most of us are now familiar with the major issues surrounding the $10 billion highway-widening project known as the Columbia River Crossing.  If you are not familiar, you will enjoy this video:

This project will not effectively deal with problems of congestion, economic depression, pollution, and rising oil prices, and it shouldn’t happen on our watch.

Metro Council conducts public hearings prior to a vote to proceed on the CRC this Thursday at 2pm, Metro Regional Center, 600 NE Grand Ave. Please show up and if you can, prepare a quick 3 minute testimony.  Keep your comments brief and respectful. Focus on one or two specific points and a clear request.  Especially if you are testifying, let councilors know that you support previous testimony rather than take your full three minutes to reiterate points that have already been heard.

If you cannot be there, please send in your written testimony on the CRC to Kelsey Newell, Metro Regional Outreach Coordinator
kelsey.newell@oregonmetro.gov

We are up against a well-funded, organized coalition of backers.  It’s worth considering: Who benefits most from building this massive project, and why?