TRANS PORTATION curated News April 29th

BATTERIES - Tesla: Better Warranty? Check! Upgradeable Cars? Sure! 500-Mile Batteries? Maybe Soon!
Leave it to Tesla Motors to turn what could have been a rather dull announcement about improving its service program into something of a mini-dazzler Friday. CEO Elon Musk not only promised to honor the company's 8-year battery warranty under pretty much all conditions -- "lighting the pack on fire with a blowtorch is not covered" -- but Tesla also rolled out a plan that allowed owners to upgrade to a top-of-the-line Model S anytime their car goe ...
http://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2013/04/27/tesla-be

BYKES - Bike-Sharing Programs In 500+ Cities Around The World
When I was the executive director of a nonprofit organization in Charlottesville, VA, focused on expanding the area's transportation options (most notably, bicycling and mass transit), one of my aims was to get a bike-sharing program rolling in the city. At that time, this was a very nascent trend, and I didn't manage to get it going in my short year there. However, the trend has been a great success around the world, and I imagine a program .. ...
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/29/bike-sharing-programs-in

BYKES - City will move forward with road diet, bike lanes on SE Division
Bike lanes coming soon.The Bureau of Transportation has announced their intention to move forward on the re-striping of SE Division between SE 60th and 80th. The decision comes after a public meeting held Tuesday where neighborhood residents and other stakeholders expressed strong support for the "road diet" and addition of bike lanes as a way to improve safety on the street.PBOT reports that 50 people came to the meeting and a "large majority" s ...
http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/26/city-will-move-forward-wi

BYKES - Electric Bikes, A Rising Force On Urban Transit Landscape - 38 Million Units Per Year By 2020, Navigant Reports
Efforts to transition rapidly to renewable and clean energy solutions while satisfying growing urban mobility needs are key factors accelerating the sale and use of electric bicycles. Widely used in Asia Pacific and Europe, the electric bicycle is well-established in those areas as a sound and serviceable means of dealing with stepped up congestion due to urbanization. However, electric bike use in North America and Western Europe is a new t .. ...
Image Credit:Augapfel via Flickr photos
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/29/electric-bikes-arrive-on

BYKES - Riding Along with Branden Shelby: Vancouver to Portland
Vancouver resident Branden Shelby outside Torque Coffee.(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)Welcome to the latest installment of our Ride Along series, which is sponsored by MetroMile.When it comes to riding a bike, It takes a lot to strike fear into the heart of 36-year-old Branden Shelby. Shelby grew up in Woodland, Washington, about 20 miles north of downtown Vancouver. His childhood home was up a gravel road and his first experiences on a bike ca ...
Ride Along with Branden Shelby-2
http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/26/riding-along-with-branden

BYKES - The 13 Best Fuel-efficient Motorcycles You Can Buy in 2013
Unlike my general disdain and subtle aggression towards street-clogging cars, overly smug Prius drivers, and bloated "crossover" SUVs, I've never hidden my love of 2-wheeled motor vehicles. In addition to being cheaper, faster, sexier, and (I am wholly and utterly convinced) safer than 4-wheeled "cages", 2 wheelers typically give back more mpg than conventional cars, making fuel-efficient motorcycles a great alternative for environmentally consc ...
Honda NX700
http://gas2.org/2013/04/27/13-high-mpg-my2013-motorcycles-yo

BYKES - Video: Beverly Hills road rage incident ends with BMW driver ramming bicyclist
Filed under: Sedan, Videos, BMWAn instance of road rage turned mortally dangerous in Beverly Hills, CA, recently, when an incident between a cyclist and a BMW driver took a scary turn in front of a rolling security camera.LA Weekly reports that the person on the bicycle and the driver of the 2008 BMW 328i in the video had some kind of altercation, resulting in the cyclist punching the driver. The driver then followed the biker to an alley on the ...
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/26/beverly-hills-road-rage-i

CARS - ETC: These are the overloaded cars of South Korean workers fleeing North Korea
Filed under: Government/Legal, South KoreaAround 175 South Korean workers have been forced to pack up their belongings and leave a group of jointly operated factories in North Korea after tensions continued to escalate between the two countries. The workers piled tools and finished products high onto the roofs of regular passenger cars as they evacuated as quickly as possible.North Korea says the ongoing talks with its southern neighbor geared to ...
Overloaded South Korean's van fleeing North Korea
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/28/these-are-the-overloaded-

CARS - Motorsports: Schumacher to drive Mercedes F1 car on Nürburgring Nordschleife
Filed under: Motorsports, Mercedes-BenzIn advance of this year's 24 Hours of Nürburgring race, and as a "thank you" to German motorsports fans, Mercedes-Benz has arranged quite the driving demonstration at the legendary German track. Seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher will pilot a the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W02 - the team's 2011 F1 car that carried the Silver Arrow name - around the Nordschleife. As far as w ...
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/26/schumacher-to-drive-merce

CARS - Nissan Leaf Taxi Pilot Launched In New York City
This article originally appeared on EV Obsession.Nissan and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have now officially launched the NYC Nissan Leaf pilot program, setting the 6 Leaf taxis loose on Earth Day."This is at least the second public taxi test of the Nissan Leaf," Nicholas notes over on sister site Gas2.Nissan, New York City Launch Leaf Electric Vehicle Taxi Pilot. (PRNewsFoto/Nissan North America)Of course, the issue with taxis is t .. ...
Nissan, New York City Launch Leaf Electric Vehicle Taxi Pilot. (PRNewsFoto/Nissan North America)
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/26/nissan-leaf-taxi-pilot-l

CARS - Official: Chrysler investing $20M in Toledo plant to support 9-speed auto production
Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Chrysler, Dodge, JeepIn 2011, Chrysler announced a $72-million investment in its Toledo Machining Plant to modernize production of the eight- and nine-speed torque-converters for automatic transmissions made there. That upgrade work won't be finished until Q3 of this year, but Chrysler has already announced a further $19.6-million investment to increase production capacity for the nine-speeders.The extra units w ...
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/28/chrysler-investing-20m-in

CARS - Official: Honda signs on as Pikes Peak sponsor, race participant
Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Sedan, Hatchback, Acura, Honda, Motorcycle, RacingHonda plans to storm the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30, entering ten cars in nine classes at the race to the sky, and signing on as a corporate sponsor. Part of the company's return to grassroots racing - if that's what you can call factory-backed efforts - the banners of Honda R&D and Honda North America will fly on these entries: a fi ...
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/27/honda-signs-on-as-pikes-p

CARS - Official: Volvo testing F1-style KERS system, cites 25% fuel economy bump [w/video]
Filed under: Hybrid, Technology, VolvoVolvo has been experimenting with flywheel propulsion systems since the eighties, but only recently has technology caught up with the possibility of real-world applications. In 2011, the Swedish carmaker was granted 6.57 million Swedish kronor (about $1M US) by the Swedish Energy Agency to work on a kinetic energy recovery system with Swedish bearing company SKF. Before it began trials, Volvo expected the fue ...
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/29/volvo-testing-f1-style-ke

CARS - Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Coming Out Party In Shanghai
This article originally appeared on EV Obsession.This has been an incredible year at the Shanghai Motor Show, and Porsche has made the spotlight with the debut of its 2014 Porshe Panamera S E-Hybrid, the new plug-in hybrid offering from the German automaker.If the Panamera S E-Hybrid wasn't enough for a Porsche enthusiast, the company also revealed two luxurious Executive versions - the Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo - that feature an extend .. ...
Panamera S E-Hybrid
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/26/porsche-panamera-s-e-hyb

CARS - Rear seat design: A priority for children's safety in cars
New report recommends technology, policy changes to better protect older children and adolescents in crashes ...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429094654.ht

CARS - Report: Boston bombers were tracked using Mercedes mbrace [w/video]
Filed under: Performance, Government/Legal, Technology, Mercedes-Benz, LuxuryWe now know Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two brothers said to be behind the Boston Marathon bombings, planned to head for New York City to detonate more improvised explosive devices. As it turns out, that plan was foiled by the quick thinking of one Mercedes-Benz owner, diligent police work and the Mercedes-Benz mbrace system. When the brothers carjacked a 26-year ...
2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 diesel playing among the rocks
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/28/boston-bombers-were-track

CARS - Report: DC Design plans Avanti facility in India by 2014
Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Plants/Manufacturing, IndiaAccording to a story in the Economic Times of India, the DC Design Avanti is on its way - but it's going to take a couple of years. Company founder Dilip Chhabria told the paper that he plans to have a manufacturing facility in the Sanand, Ahmedabad district in Gujarat state, India by next year with a production capacity of 3,500 units.It would be the fourth DC facility in the country. T ...
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/29/dc-design-plans-avanti-fa

CARS - Report: Tarantino's stolen Chevy Malibu from Pulp Fiction recovered after 19 years [w/video]
Filed under: Classics, Convertible, Government/Legal, Videos, Chevrolet, CelebritiesQuentin Tarantino fans will likely remember Vincent Vega's cherry 1964 Chevrolet Malibu Convertible in Pulp Fiction. In a movie drenched in automotive references, the Malibu is very nearly a character in and of itself, and it serves as the subject of Vega's soliloquy about the kind of man who vandalizes another's automobile. It also happened to be Tarantino's pers ...
Vincent Vega and Mrs. Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction in '64 Chevrolet Malibu
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/29/tarantinos-stolen-chevy-m

CARS - Report: Washington poised to nearly double its hybrid fleet
Filed under: Hybrid, Government/LegalThe Detroit News reports The General Services Administration is set to increase the number of hybrid vehicles in the government's fleet by 10,000. Doing so is estimated to save one million gallons of fuel per year through the lives of the machines. Currently, the GSA fleet boasts around 10,672 hybrids, and last fiscal year saw the agency purchase 919 of the vehicles. The GSA helps support other agencies, and i ...
Toyota Hybrid Emblem
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/26/washington-poised-to-near

CARS - Tesla Not Allowed To Sell Its Own Cars In Virginia
So far Tesla has won lawsuits in several states giving it the right to sell its cars directly to customers, and it is pursuing the cause in other states as well. But Virginia recently slapped down Tesla's attempt to sell its electric Model S directly to customers. Can Tesla overcome this setback?Automobile dealers associations have been trying to prevent Tesla Motors from opening its own dealerships because they want to force Tesla Motors to sell ...
tesla-model-s-thumb
http://gas2.org/2013/04/26/tesla-not-allowed-to-sell-its-own

CARS - Toyota Me.We Multifunction Tupperware Car
Massaud and Toyota developed a compact concept car called the Me.We. It has customizable body panels, and an extendable rear panel to enable its use as a pickup truck, minivan, and convertible.It is a highly radical design with one long bench seat, like some old cars use to have, and one long uniform seat in the back. It may not be luxurious to most people, but it is actually unique. It is refreshing to see something new for once.It is an electri ...
005-toyota-me-we-concept
http://gas2.org/2013/04/26/toyota-me-we-multifunction-tupper

CARS - Video: Los Angeles Welcomes Formula E Electric Race Series
One of the most exciting developments in the green car world is the formation of the Formula E racing series, which is essentially Formula One with electric cars. While several major cities across the world have signed on to host this new series, Los Angeles is the first city in the U.S. to announce that it will serve as a host for this new electric racing series.The Formula E series is set to take off in 2014, and cities like Rio de Janeiro and ...
formula-e
http://gas2.org/2013/04/29/video-los-angeles-welcomes-formul

CARS - Video: Proof the world revolves around the Porsche Cayman
Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Porsche, LuxuryOr at least the world revolves underneath the Porsche Cayman, in the latest video showing off Stuttgart's mid-engine coupe. Porsche put an Easter egg in the world that spins triple-time, a "famous relative" of the Cayman hidden somewhere on the marble planet, and gave a Porsche Martini bag to one of the first 50 people who could point it out.With more than 300 views th ...
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/27/proof-the-world-revolves-

CARS - Volvo Completes Flywheel Hybrid Tests
With almost than two years and thousands of miles of testing behind it, Volvo's flywheel hybrid system has been confirmed to improve MPG by up to 25% and totally eliminating potentially hazardous/flammable batteries! Mounted to the rear wheels of what would "normally" be a front-wheel-drive car ("normally" because Volvo offers both front-wheel and all-wheel versions of most of the cars it sells in the US), the hybrid system uses a flywheel that ...
Volvo Hybrid KERS
http://gas2.org/2013/04/27/volvo-completes-flywheel-hybrid-t

CARS - Warren Buffett-Backed Chinese Automaker BYD Says Profit Quadrupled In 1st Qtr
BYD, a Chinese manufacturer of autos, batteries and phone components 10% owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, said yesterday evening net profit quadrupled to 112.4 million yuan, or $18.1 million, in the first three months of the year as sales recovered from a decline last year ...
http://www.forbes.com/sites/russellflannery/2013/04/25/warre

CARS - Buick Riviera Concept Vehicle Makes Global Debut
The Shanghai Motor Show has been turning out some astonishing vehicles, and the new Buick Riviera concept is no exception. This car is definitely "not your father's Buick." The new Buick Riviera will start a new chapter for the 110-year-old Buick brand.Equipped with avant-garde aesthetics, advanced technology, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle propulsion - in a single package - this concept very well could rebrand Buick for the next centur .. ...
Buick Riviera
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/23/buick-riviera-concept-ve

CARS - Ford CFO Sees Turning Point In Europe (Fingers Crossed)
The economic news out of Europe has been miserable for so long that Ford Motor's slightly more optimistic tone for the region almost slipped by me this morning as I dug into Ford's $1.6 billion in first-quarter net income ...
http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2013/04/24/ford-cfo-

EVs - 10 More Electric Vehicle Stories
Haven't had enough electric vehicle (EV) news lately? Check out these 10 EV stories below.1. Toyota has unveiled the ME.WE concept EV. It's a cute little car, reminiscent of a Mini Cooper, in my opinion. Its floors and horizontal surfaces are made of bamboo, an interesting twist that I imagine could get nixed when moving from concept to reality (but maybe not). Check out several pictures and a couple videos via the link above.2. BYD has land .. ...
toyota ME WE
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/29/10-more-electric-vehicle

EVs - BMW offering solar powered charging option for BMW i3 and i8
...
http://www.torquenews.com/1075/bmw-offering-solar-powered-ch

EVs - GreenTech Automotive & JAC Motors Team Up For 100% Electric Car Assembled In US
This article originally appeared on EV Obsession.Here's an interesting announcement from Shanghai, but partly from a US EV company. Like with CODA, the effort seems to target delivering a relatively cheap and "somewhat made in America" all-electric car. But the question is whether or not it will be able to compete with the very low-cost Nissan Leaf and the hotter than hot Tesla brand (which plans to unroll an affordable EV within a few years .. ...
Image Credit: Greentech Automotive
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/26/greentech-automotive-jac

EVs - Issa No Longer Into 'Sperm-Shaped' Electric Car He Pushed For?
This article originally appeared on Think Progress.By Ryan KoronowskiIn a contentious hearing yesterday, the House GOP members of the House Oversight Committee aggressively questioned Fisker Automotive executives and an Energy Department staffer about a loan Fisker received from the Energy Department.The attacks were reminiscent of those made in hearings on Solyndra and were more of a reflection of the committee's hyperpartisan agenda than a .. ...
Aptera1
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/26/issa-no-longer-in-to-spe

EVs - North Carolina considering Fair Share Contribution for Elect. Vehicles.
The North Carolina Legislature is considering SB710, Fair Share Contribution for Elect. Vehicles., which would enact a $100 per year annual registration fee for electric vehicles.It's a fairly straight-forward law:SECTION 1. G.S. 20‑52 is amended byadding a new subsection to read:"(c) At the time of an initialregistration, the owner of a plug‑in electric vehicle that does not rel ...
http://www.longtailpipe.com/2013/04/north-carolina-consideri

EVs - North Carolina considering Fair Share Contribution for Elect. Vehicles.
The North Carolina Legislature is considering SB710, Fair Share Contribution for Elect. Vehicles., which would enact a $100 per year annual registration fee for electric vehicles.It's a fairly straight-forward law:SECTION 1. G.S. 20‑52 is amended byadding a new subsection to read:"(c) At the time of an initialregistration, the owner of a plug‑in electric vehicle that does not rel ...
http://www.longtailpipe.com/2013/04/north-carolina-consideri

EVs - Racing car with electric drive
Drive technology has an electric future - of this research scientists are in no doubt. Scientists have developed an electric racing car with a novel solution for battery management and electronic sensor systems ...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130426073718.ht

EVs - SRI tackling Baja's General Tire Mexican 1000 in an electric buggy [w/video]
Filed under: EV/Plug-in, RacingWhatdya expect, a Nissan Leaf? Nope, the National Off Road Racing Association's (NORRA) General Tire Mexican 1000 off-road rally, which starts this weekend, will feature its first-ever all-electric vehicle, and judging by what we see above, it certainly looks the part.SRI EV1, built by SRI, SRD and EV West, is an open-wheeled monster that delivers 535 horsepower and houses enough battery power to supply a typical Am ...
SR1 off-road EV
http://green.autoblog.com/2013/04/27/sri-tackling-bajas-gene

EVs - Tesla Model S expected to have better sales than Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF so far this year
Tesla Motors is also expected to announce its first-ever profit during the first quarter of 2013 ...
http://www.treehugger.com/cars/tesla-model-s-expected-have-b

EVs - Tesla unveils worlds best service and warranty program for Model S, X
...
http://www.torquenews.com/1075/tesla-unveils-worlds-best-ser

EVs - Tesla's Commitment To Being Great
It's a real pleasure listening to Elon Musk talk. There's a humility there, a strong sense of responsibility, a desire to do what is right. There is also a clear faith that doing what is right will pay off in the end in business terms, as well.In the latest Tesla conference call (Friday's call), Elon's focus was on the fact that Tesla's warranty would cover everything that might happen to a Model S owner's car... beyond a physical accident o .. ...
elon-musk
http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/28/teslas-commitment-to-bei

EVs - Tesla: Better Warranty? Check! Upgradeable Cars? Sure! 500-Mile Batteries? Maybe Soon!
Tesla's service loaner: They'll not only bring you the car, for a fee you can "upgrade" and keep the borrowed vehicle for good. Leave it to Tesla Motors to turn what could have been a rather dull announcement about improving its service program into something of a mini-dazzler Friday. CEO Elo ...
image thumbnail - see full story for attributions
http://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2013/04/27/tesla-be

EVs - Vermonts thoughts on electric vehicle taxes to make up for future transportation fund revenue losses
There are 10 (?or more?) states around the U.S. who have either enacted electric vehicle taxes, or are considering them. The observation is that electric vehicle owners are not paying anything into the transportation funds, because the current funding method is the gasoline tax. Electric vehicles don't consume gasoline, or diesel, and therefore don't pay gas taxes.I'm researching thes ...
http://www.longtailpipe.com/2013/04/vermonts-thoughts-on-ele

EVs - Vermonts thoughts on electric vehicle taxes to make up for future transportation fund revenue losses
There are 10 (?or more?) states around the U.S. who have either enacted electric vehicle taxes, or are considering them. The observation is that electric vehicle owners are not paying anything into the transportation funds, because the current funding method is the gasoline tax. Electric vehicles don't consume gasoline, or diesel, and therefore don't pay gas taxes.I'm researching thes ...
http://www.longtailpipe.com/2013/04/vermonts-thoughts-on-ele

EVs - Renault soups up Twizy urban car with Formula 1 racing technology
...
http://www.torquenews.com/1075/renault-soups-twizy-urban-car

FUELS - Liquefied Natural Gas Safe and Fun, Advocates Say
by Hana Askre ...
http://www.forbes.com/sites/mergermarket/2013/04/26/liquefie

MASS - Most Chinese Cities Don't Need And Can't Afford The Subway Systems They're Building
NOT many global cities of nearly 9m people lack an underground line, but until the end of last year the eastern city of Hangzhou was one of them. Now city slickers and rural migrants squeeze together inside shiny new carriages, checking their smartphones and reading free newspapers like commuters the world over. There is standing-room only in the rush hour and, with tickets at less than a dollar, the metro is revolutionising the way people travel ...
Beijing metro
http://www.businessinsider.com/china-cant-afford-its-subway-

PARKING - PUBLIC - Microscopic dust particles found in underground railways may pose health risk
New research has found that working or traveling on an underground railway for a sustained period of time could have health implications. Previously published work suggests that working in environments such as steel mills or welding plants, which are rich in airborne metals, like iron, copper and nickel, can have damaging effects on health. However, little research has been done on the effects of working in an underground railway environment - a ...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424081330.ht

PARKING - PUBLIC - TN MOVING STORIES: Freight Rail Boom, Streetcar Plans, Congestion Study,
Top Stories on TNGoogle Maps Adds Real-Time Transit Data in NYC, Salt Lake City (link)Calif. Devil's Slide Tunnels Open After a Long Fight (link)Switching Gears and Bringing Cycling Culture Back to China and Taiwan (link)Senator Pressuring the FAA to Hurry Up and End In-Flight Ban on Cell Phones (link)Rendering of a proposed downtown St. Louis streetcar.NPR examines the global and growing phenomenon of women's-only subway cars. New Delhi joins th ...
http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/transportation-nation/2013/mar/28/

TRANSPORT - ODOT releases report on impacts of National Hwy System expansion
ODOT Federal Affairs Advisor Travis Brouwer speaking at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit on Wednesday.(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)The Oregon Department of Transportation has just released their National Highway System Expansion Working Group Report (PDF). The report is an attempt to clarify the impacts and concerns surrounding a major change to how local streets are managed. As we've been reporting on since last fall, the new federal tr ...
OR Active Transpo Summit-37
http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/26/odot-releases-report-on-i

TRUCKS - TRANSPORT - ODOT releases report on impacts of National Hwy System expansion
ODOT Federal Affairs Advisor Travis Brouwer speaking at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit on Wednesday.(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)The Oregon Department of Transportation has just released their National Highway System Expansion Working Group Report (PDF). The report is an attempt to clarify the impacts and concerns surrounding a major change to how local streets are managed. As we've been reporting on since last fall, the new federal tr ...
OR Active Transpo Summit-37
http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/26/odot-releases-report-on-i

BATTERIES - Tesla: Better Warranty? Check! Upgradeable Cars? Sure! 500-Mile Batteries? Maybe Soon!

Leave it to Tesla Motors to turn what could have been a rather dull announcement about improving its service program into something of a mini-dazzler Friday. CEO Elon Musk not only promised to honor the company's 8-year battery warranty under pretty much all conditions -- "lighting the pack on fire with a blowtorch is not covered" -- but Tesla also rolled out a plan that allowed owners to upgrade to a top-of-the-line Model S anytime their car goes in for service. Musk also hinted that today's 265-mile range on the most-expensive model wasn't any kind of endgame; but rather that a 500-mile battery could be available within 4 years. To top it off, Tesla finished the first quarter having outsold the much less expensive Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, to become the most popular plug-in vehicle in the U.S.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2013/04/27/tesla-better-warra

BYKES - Bike-Sharing Programs In 500+ Cities Around The World

When I was the executive director of a nonprofit organization in Charlottesville, VA, focused on expanding the area's transportation options (most notably, bicycling and mass transit), one of my aims was to get a bike-sharing program rolling in the city. At that time, this was a very nascent trend, and I didn't manage to get it going in my short year there. However, the trend has been a great success around the world, and I imagine a program ...

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/29/bike-sharing-programs-in-500-citie

BYKES - City will move forward with road diet, bike lanes on SE Division

Bike lanes coming soon.

The Bureau of Transportation has announced their intention to move forward on the re-striping of SE Division between SE 60th and 80th. The decision comes after a public meeting held Tuesday where neighborhood residents and other stakeholders expressed strong support for the "road diet" and addition of bike lanes as a way to improve safety on the street.

PBOT reports that 50 people came to the meeting and a "large majority" supported the Phase 1 improvements which include:

  • Removing paint and restriping the new three-lane configuration, including one travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, bike lanes east- and westbound, plus a bicycle lane on SE 60th Avenue northbound to connect to the SE Lincoln Neighborhood Greenway;
  • Installation of a marked crosswalk with a pedestrian island between SE 67th and SE 68th Avenues; and
  • Signal improvements at SE 60th, 71st, and 76th Avenues, including pedestrian push buttons and loop detectors at 71st and 76th Avenues.

Graphic created by the BTA showing before and after lane configurations.

Those loop detectors will be key to maintaining traffic flow, even with one less standard vehicle lane. The signals at 71st and 76th, PBOT says, are currently timed and they changed regardless of whether cross-traffic is present. "The pedestrian push buttons and loop detectors are designed to keep traffic flowing on Division," PBOT says, "Even with the removal of one travel lane, PBOT's traffic model shows these signal improvements will provide a reduction of travel times for vehicles moving through the project area."

This project came out of PBOT's High Crash Corridor program which aims to tame major arterials that have a higher than average concentration of serious injury and fatal collisions. The re-configuration of lanes on Division is expected to improve safety for all road users, not just people who ride bikes.

PBOT has set aside $100,000 in the current budget for the project and it's expected to begin this summer. Learn more at the project website.

http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/26/city-will-move-forward-with-road-di

BYKES - Electric Bikes, A Rising Force On Urban Transit Landscape - 38 Million Units Per Year By 2020, Navigant Reports

Efforts to transition rapidly to renewable and clean energy solutions while satisfying growing urban mobility needs are key factors accelerating the sale and use of electric bicycles. Widely used in Asia Pacific and Europe, the electric bicycle is well-established in those areas as a sound and serviceable means of dealing with stepped up congestion due to urbanization. However, electric bike use in North America and Western Europe is a new t ...

Image Credit:Augapfel via Flickr photos

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/29/electric-bikes-arrive-on-global-tr

BYKES - Riding Along with Branden Shelby: Vancouver to Portland

Ride Along with Branden Shelby-2
Vancouver resident Branden Shelby outside Torque Coffee.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)


Welcome to the latest installment of our Ride Along series, which is sponsored by MetroMile.

When it comes to riding a bike, It takes a lot to strike fear into the heart of 36-year-old Branden Shelby. Shelby grew up in Woodland, Washington, about 20 miles north of downtown Vancouver. His childhood home was up a gravel road and his first experiences on a bike came via the logging roads that criss-crossed his neighborhood. It wasn't until he moved to downtown Vancouver in 2000 and started biking over the I-5 bridge when he got a real scare on two wheels. "It's hairy," is how he explained riding across the bridge when I met up with him at Torque Coffee (in the shadows of the Interstate Bridge) earlier this month.

Ride Along with Branden Shelby-1

Branden said he grew up in a car-centric community, with dirt roads and long distances between destinations. "I was always the kid people would see out riding on the Lewis River Highway into town or out to the lakes." But once he moved to Vancouver, he traded his mountain bike for a road bike. "With all these roads everywhere," he said, "it didn't make sense to have a fat tire bike." When he got a job just three miles away from his house, he thought riding to work was "kind of weird."

But he's taken to bicycles and now he commutes year-round. After hearing about it on BikePortland, Branden got involved with Portland's bike culture and has even led a Midnight Mystery Ride. "I don't want to get into the daytime, spandex, hi-vis crowd... like the guys you see on the weekends. I don't want to be involved in that," he explained. "So, riding at night and sometimes doing things pseudo-clandestinely, a little under the radar, appeals to me a lot."

For the past five years Branden worked at a warehouse and forklift operator job in St. Johns, so he's a veteran of countless commutes over the I-5 bridge. He's currently out of work, and when I joined him earlier this month he was riding into northwest Portland to follow-up on some resumes.

We began our ride from Torque Coffee at SW Columbia and 5th St. As we approached the I-5 bridge Branden shared stories of how he was scared riding over it at first. "I have mountain biking experience, but I wasn't used to having metal and freeway speeds on one side of me and concrete and a river on the other side." He wondered what it must be like to ride on one of the tall bikes he's seen on rides in Portland. "You feel the wind up on the bridge, it's definitely possible to topple over the rail."

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Branden prefers the southbound side of the bridge, since it's a bit wider than the other side (which isn't saying much). When it comes to path-sharing etiquette, he says he has no problem getting over for people who need to pass. Branden's theory about the narrow path that's notorious among bike riders is that the original designers of the bridge had not intention of people biking on it. "I think it was just built only for maintenance people."

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As for the looming Columbia River Crossing project, Branden says, "Yes, the project is a huge behemoth; but the interchanges are designed horribly and from a bicyclists standpoint, it would be nice to have a little breathing room on the bridge."

As we continued south, we stopped for a moment to take in the view of the major demolition project going on at the Red Lion at Jantzen Beach. As we made our way down the corkscrew path and under the I-5 tunnel, we came up on yet another annoying part of Branden's commute: The circuitous crosswalk and sidewalk bike route to get from North Hayden Island Drive to the continuation of the I-5 path. "It's a really bad set-up," Branden said as we waited for a light to change.

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When we came to the intersection of N. Tomahawk Island Drive, Branden said he's almost been hit numerous times at the crosswalk that's part of the designated bike route. "People coming off the freeway come flying around the corner." Not only that, but Branden pointed out that one of the two yellow caution signs warning people of the crossing is almost completely obscured by tree branches.

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Note the sign on the right covered by leaves.

Once we were finally back on the path and headed toward Delta Park (near Hooters), Branden pointed out another hazard: Uneven pavement. Thankfully, ODOT recently smoothed out a major crack in the path after a woman was seriously injured from falling on it a few months ago. Cindy Bernert-Coppola was riding with the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club on January 31st when she fell and sustained a bilateral fracture of her jaw, a shoulder fracture, and a damaged artery. Branden had seen other people fall in the past and said the cracks were very tricky to navigate: "If you're running skinny tires you could easily go down."

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Riding on a newly smoothed-out section of the path.
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On a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood from here.
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The path winding toward Delta Park.
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When Branden worked in St. Johns, he'd follow the path to Marine Drive and then head south on Portland Road. Before he ever looked at a bike-specific map, he shared that he used to stay on Portland Rd all the way to Fessenden, a route that took him over a dangerous bridge over the Columbia Slough. "I would ride that bad pinch point for several years. You have to go with truck traffic screaming along, or get up on this narrow and high sidewalk thing." That experience is what convinced Branden to purchase lights for his bike. "My former philosophy," he explained, "Was if they can't see you they can't hit you. But I don't do that now."

As we approached Delta Park, we decided to ride through the park toward Whitaker Rd. There are several options you can take at this juncture: N. Union Ct. to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd; through the park then to Whitaker and west to Denver and then Interstate; or the option we chose which was through the park to Whitaker Rd, south to Schmeer and then across the Columbia Slough via the Vancouver Bridge. As we rode through the park, we both appreciated the smooth pavement. It used to be full of bike-sized potholes.

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Whitaker Rd provides great access to the Hayden Meadows shopping center; but there's not much of a shoulder. The same thing goes for Schmeer Rd as it winds past Hayden Meadows horse racing track. Branden said he prefers the Denver (near Portland International Raceway) to Interstate route and pointed out that the Metro Bike There map suggests the MLK JR. Blvd route.

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Riding on Schmeer isn't that great; but it's got low traffic volume and it's a direct connection to Vancouver Ave.
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Eventually we made it to N. Vancouver Ave. The new Vancouver Bridge, with its raised biking and walking path, is a warm welcome into the Portland bike network. Vancouver also offers a straight shot on a wide bike lane all the way to the Rose Quarter. As we got closer into Portland proper, Branden shared how strange it was - as a kid from the country roads of Woodland - to adjust to all the bike traffic.

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Newly remodeled Vancouver Bridge.
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Thanks for letting me tag along Branden!
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If you'd like to see our route, I mapped it on Ride With GPS.

- BikePortland Ride Alongs are sponsored by MetroMile which is offering the country's first true pay per mile car insurance. So if you drive less, you pay less. Read more Ride Alongs here. If you'd like your commute to be considered, please get in touch.

http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/26/riding-along-with-branden-shelby-va