ODOT picks new bike/ped program manager

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 3rd, 2007 at 12:02 am

[Sheila Lyons (center), with
Michael Ronkin at an OPBAC

ODOT has picked Sheila Lyons to manage their bicycle and pedestrian program. Lyons takes over for Michael Ronkin who held this important post for 22 years before officially retiring back in October.

Lyons previously worked alongside Ronkin as ODOT's bicycle and pedestrian facilities specialist and served two years on the BTA Board of Directors (more on her hiring on the BTA Blog). In addition to overseeing ODOT's bike and ped programs, Sheila will also head the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC), an eight-member committee who acts as a liaison between the public and ODOT.

[Sheila Lyons enjoying the
Eastbank Esplanade.]

I've touched base with Sheila on several issues and each time I've found her to be a smart, open-minded and sincere advo-crat and I look forward to working with her in the future.

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  • Jeff January 3, 2007 at 11:33 am

    I hope ODOT's new bike facilities
    leaderhsip see's it's past failure's regarding bike access on the Ross Island and St. Johns bridges. Hopefull they won't repeat it in the future. ODOT actually narrowed the sidewalk on the Ross Island bridge and put the guardrail on the concrete wall, nothing to protect the pedestrians/bicyclist that use the bridge. When construction just started, I contacted the BTA to pursue some kind of access for bicycles & pedestrians, but it fell on deaf ears. Now that the concrete is poured, the chances of going back and making it right are slim.
    Good Luck Shiela and keep bicycle access a top priority to ensure safe transportation options for everyone.

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  • Jessica Roberts January 3, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Jeff, it's simply not fair to say that the BTA didn't take action on the St. Johs Bridge. I worked at the BTA during this time and I know how very hard many people worked to try to get good bike access on the St. Johns, at many stages during the process. I believe they even considered legal action. I'm sorry you didn't feel that they responded as you hoped to your particular request, but it's not the case that they didn't make a huge effort.

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  • Burr January 3, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Huge effort yes, but with nothing to show for it in the end.

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  • Jeff January 3, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Sorry Jessica, I didn't make myself clear that I was specfically talking about the Ross Island Bridge, regarding BTA"s deaf ears. I called the BTA regarding the bridge, they told me to call ODOT. I did and pursured nearly every avenue,(before the concrete got poured). I was passionate about the Ross Island Bridge being bike friendly. That was my commuter bridge at the time. I called the BTA back several times, they offered no help, at one point they refused to take my call. I had been an early member and they had left the image in my mind that was part of their mission? I suggested an issue fund raising campaign, to stop construction until alternative access was included in the new design. Once bridge was finished the local neighborhood associatations complained it wasn't bike or pedestrian friendly. It't too late to do something after the fact. They probably won't work on the bridge for another 15 or 20 years. So be very careful when crossing the Ross Island, it's very dangerous.

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  • Jessica Roberts January 3, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Oh, the Ross Island....I'm sorry, I wasn't reading carefully enough. I can't speak to that as I wasn't on staff at the time. It is a pity that it wasn't re-done better. What an awful bridge for bikes (esp. the connections at the west end).

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