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Archive for July, 2007

Washington County looking for cyclist to represent on Saltzman Rd project

Posted by Peter W on July 31, 2007

Washington County will be doing a major street project – turning NW Saltzman Rd to a three lane road with bike lanes. The county is looking for a member of the Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition to represent cyclists. Hopefully its not too late: “all focus group applications are due by July 30 and members will be selected by Aug. 15.”

I’d volunteer for it myself but I’m pretty busy. But here’s what I’d advocate for:

  • Colored bike lanes , concrete colored rather than black mainly to make the road appear more narrow.
  • Planted medians where there aren’t turn lanes
  • As few turn lane areas as possible
  • Lots of vegetation between road and sidewalk.
  • Dense bamboo in some of the median areas and between road and sidewalk.

What else would make a better bike friendly road? What about European style raised bike lanes?

Posted in bikes, transportation, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Update on Jennifer Knight case

Posted by Peter W on July 29, 2007

This is just a short update to the story first covered by BikePortland.org.

This Oregonian story covers the inequality between the fines received by cyclists in North Plains running stop signs and the fine Jennifer Knight received for killing Aloha cyclist Timothy O’Donnell (“Three cyclists are fined $1,005 at a rural stop sign, but a suspended driver who kills a rider pays $1,100”). It also talks about the anger from cyclists who wrote to the North Plains sheriff or who posted on BikePortland.org and the response from the North Plains sheriff.

More interestingly, this article from the Forest Grove News Times reports that Jennifer Knight claims she didn’t know her license was suspended and details the timeline of her recent auto history. It also says that by the time that article was written, she was already three days late on paying her first $75 installment of her fine.

What I want to know is – what do they do if she doesn’t pay the fine? Considering her history and the fact that she is already late on just her first fine installment, I really doubt she feels too terribly about what happened. I also wonder if she has switched to cycling or public transportation to get around now, or if she is now driving without a license (again). In general, what do we do about dangerous people driving without licenses?

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Pedicab in Hillsboro!

Posted by Peter W on July 27, 2007

Who woulda thunkit? The Oregonian reports that downtown Hillsboro now has Pedicab service! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in bikes, hillsboro | 1 Comment »

Bethany Community Network Disappeared?

Posted by Peter W on July 25, 2007

I’m curious what the heck is happening with the Bethany Community Network? Their website address has expired, and I can’t find anything else about them online. I sure wish I had gotten contact info for one of them earlier! Hopefully they are continuing to keep up the good fight. If anyone knows anything, let me know. [Update: Cool, its back up!]

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in north bethany, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Open letter about affordable housing sans parking in North Bethany

Posted by Peter W on July 18, 2007

I sent this on Tuesday, July 12 to the North Bethany study group:

This is about affordable housing for Sam Galbreath and the Housing Focus Group.

Say I’m a student at PCC, or a teacher at one of the schools in North Bethany. I don’t make a lot of money, but one way I save money is by biking or taking public transit. I’d like to live in North Bethany – either rent a place or buy a small condo. I don’t have a car, so will I have the option to save money by *not* paying for a parking space or having a garage attached?

I’ve been reading that housing with parking can be much more expensive – like tens of thousands of dollars more expensive. I’ve also read that if the cost of parking is unbundled from the cost of housing – so people buying houses can opt out of buying parking – then suddenly 20% more people can afford mortgages.

In a development which is promoting alternative transit, I believe this could work. It has been done successfully in other cities, including San Francisco, New York, and Portland. It may not be an obvious fit for North Bethany due to its suburban nature, but I definitely think there’d be a market for this among people looking for affordable housing.

Please let me know if this will be an option for North Bethany.

Thanks.

p.s. references:
http://www.livablecity.org/resources/ExSum_NeighborhoodGroups.doc
http://livablecity.org/resources/ExSum_Developers_Lenders.doc
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/12/realestate/12nati.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&en=cb543148a87eab59&ex=1184904000
http://www.spur.org/documents/981101_report_01.shtm

Posted in north bethany, transportation, urban planning, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Cookie cutter development coming to North Bethany?

Posted by Peter W on July 18, 2007

When I heard that North Bethany only has a handfull of developers for the 800+ acre site, I was worried that it would lead to ugly cookie cutter suburbia, and from the planning team’s developer interviews (“Development Plans, p.3) it looks like that is the case:

The developers acquiring land in the north Bethany project site are predominantly production builders, meaning they want to buy, build, sell, and conclude their investment as quickly as possible. This influences the type of housing product that they sell.

The developers relayed that their plan is to design and build product similar to what exists in the adjacent neighborhoods, build during the 1990s: single family residential (SFR), on small lots of 3,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet. townhomes and condominiums are also a product-type option, but on a smaller scale. It was noted that some of the developers like to build two products for diversity and thus reach a larger share of the market; it also enables projects to hit the density zoning requirements in places. The large developers (and primary landholders) are production builders. They have a formula that works and they stick to it. Thus, the product type planned for the area will currently have little diversity. A few developers are open to more product diversity, but they would likely partner or sell those parcels to a company that has experience doing something else, such as multifamily or mixed-use development.

It looks like the only hope for a real “community of distinction” is that if the plan calls for the kind of greater density and mixed use that these developers (like the giant West Hills Development aka “Arbor Homes”, Matrix Development aka “Legend Homes”) can’t do themselves, then they may sell it to someone with more experience and better architects / planners.

Posted in architecture, north bethany, urban planning, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Open letter about schools in North Bethany

Posted by Peter W on July 18, 2007

This was sent to the North Bethany planning team.

Hello,

I am curious if the North Bethany plan will help ensure that more people bike and walk to schools in the area? In terms of the plan, it’s very important that schools be well integrated into neighborhoods and that there are very low maximum parking limits, and as much as possible of the parking should be integrated with the neighborhood as on-street parking.

Besides helping kids get healthy, walking or biking will help reduce traffic a great deal; it has been estimated that up to 25% (!) of morning and afternoon traffic is due to parents dropping off or picking up their kids.

Here is another pretty sad statistic:

“In 2001, 16 percent of students between the ages of 5 and 15 walked or bicycled to or from school.

In 1969, 42 percent of students walked or bicycled to school.”

It only takes 5-10 minutes for kids to walk a quarter mile or bike one mile. The entire N. Bethany site is only a bit more than a mile wide, and Beaverton School District is planning 3 elementary schools and possibly a high school.

Please let me know what the status of this is. Thanks.

Just to clarify – the reason for putting parking on the street instead of a parking lot is that:

  1. Neighborhood streets usually have enough room for car parking anyway, so you might as well use it
  2. Parking lots do a good job of separating the school from the neighborhood it is in
  3. Parallel parking on streets around a school is slightly less convenient than a parking lot, and reduces the temptation to drive while still providing for people who have to drive.

I didn’t mention it in the letter, but I got the quotes and numbers from a talking points document from the International Walk to School in the USA group.

Posted in north bethany, transportation, urban planning, washington county | Leave a Comment »

Crash due to construction sign in Hillsboro

Posted by Peter W on July 11, 2007

According to an article in yesterday’s Hillsboro Argus, Hillsboro resident Steven Dowis had a bad crash on NW 231st Avenue at Campus Way [the article refers to Campus Court which I don’t think exists] just south of Cornell in the Orenco Station area.

Intersection of NW 231st and Campus Way, near Orenco Station A Hillsboro man was Life-flighted to Oregon Health Science University hospital Monday morning after crashing his bike into a construction sign on Northwest 231st Avenue near Northeast Campus Court.

Steven Dowis, 51, and another cyclist were northbound on 231st when Dowis struck a construction sign that was on the side of the road approximately 18 inches into the roadway, said Hillsboro Police Department Lt. Michael Rouches.

“This collision caused Mr. Dowis to tumble over the handlebars and strike his head on the road surface, causing head trauma,” Rouches said.

I’d be interested to know more about what happened – like what kind of construction is going on out there
(that section of road needs bike lanes and sidewalks, so I wonder if that is what they’re doing) and more importantly, why couldn’t they get the construction sign out of the way? Also, the article says no vehicles were involved but I do wonder if Steven had to swerve to avoid getting rear ended or something.

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Cool architecture in Salem, OR

Posted by Peter W on July 8, 2007

For the 4th of July I went to Salem, OR with some friends to watch 39 Shillings perform and for the fireworks. The band was great, the fireworks were pretty good except for the bad nationalistic country music (namely Darryle Worley’s “Have You Forgotten”) they played during it.

Anyway, while we were there we had fun poking around Salem and taking some pictures. I’ll post one below and you can see more at my flikr page.

Pretty building in Salem, OR

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Interesting results from Washington Transportation Survey

Posted by Peter W on July 2, 2007

From the Seattle Times Newspaper:

One-third of Washington residents say they traveled exclusively by car to get from one place to the other last year, never walking, biking or using public transportation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in bikes, planning, transportation | Leave a Comment »