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BTA: “We’re at a turning point in Portland’s bike history”

Posted by on October 19th, 2007 at 11:07 am

“In twenty years, when we have cycle-tracks on all arterials and a full network of bike boulevards across our city and bike training in every school, we’ll remember this decade as the time when we asked for change, and we got it.”
–From a BTA Action Alert
to support the Safe, Sound, and Green
Streets initiative.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has issued an action alert to its members to rally support for PDOT’s Safe, Sound, and Green Streets campaign.

Spearheaded by Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams, the funding initiative would include $54 million for bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements. Among those improvements are over 100 miles of new bicycle boulevards. (For a breakdown of how the money will be spent, see this comment).

During negotiations for the funding plan, Scott Bricker, interim executive director of the BTA, played a key role in helping increase the amount of funding that would go the bike safety projects.

The BTA’s action alert mentions the recent death of Tracey Sparling and urges their members to, “translate that sadness into action” by getting involved with the effort to make Safe, Sound and Green Streets a reality.

Here are more excerpts from their action alert (emphasis is mine):

    Dear supporters,

    We are all still upset over the death of Tracey Sparling, a 19-year-old student who was killed by a cement truck driver in a bike lane last week.

    Now it is time to translate that sadness into action. The city of Portland is contemplating a transportation spending package that includes $54 million for pedestrian and bike safety, including route and intersection improvements that will make deaths like this one less likely. This is an UNPRECEDENTED amount of money. The BTA got it into the package; now we need your help to get it implemented.

    It is not a done deal or a sure thing. Bicycle and pedestrian advocates like you are the key to getting it funded…

    The BTA supports this package one hundred percent because it will fund safety improvements holistically, for all road users, by improving bike routes, fixing dangerous intersections, paving crumbling roads, and funding educational programs. And it will be paid for by everyone, from a gas tax and a utility fee with discounts for “green” practices.

    I believe we are at a turning point in Portland’s bike history. In twenty years, when we have cycle-tracks on all arterials and a full network of bike boulevards across our city and bike training in every school, we’ll remember this decade as the time when we asked for change, and we got it.

    Please join us at these meetings and speak up for safety. It’s time to raise our standards, and make the city safe for young cyclists like Tracey.

    Michelle [Poyourow]

You can find a list of the Town Hall meetings Michelle refers to here.

Stay tuned for ongoing coverage of the Safe, Sound, and Green Streets campaign.

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Comments
  • Anonymous October 19, 2007 at 11:44 am

    I remember hearing that one of four Oregonians can\’t drive, and we\’re getting less than a quarter of the funding from this package. Kudos to the BTA for making it $54 million, but we have to look at the whole package, and we\’re getting less than we should. Color me unimpressed with Sam on this.

    Safety\’s his number-one priority, and we\’re getting 11% of the funding for that.

    Again, the visionaries have lost out to the roadbuilders…

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  • Mike Perrault October 19, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    at #1.

    For gods sake, just be happy with this. It\’s the best we\’ve got so far, lets take it and do what we can with it. I\’m sorry that you aren\’t getting exactly what you want, but this is a good step. maybe if there weren\’t so many apathetic individuals among our ranks we wouldn\’t have to beg for more money. Maybe if we thanked the people who try to further the cause instead of saying that the work they put in is unimpressive they would do more for us.

    I don\’t think you\’ll ever be happy with state funding on bikey causes, no matter if it was more than our fair share. Whiners are lame.

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  • Dan October 19, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    \”Please join us at these meetings and speak up for safety.\”

    What meetings are Michelle referring to?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 19, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Dan,

    She is referring to the series of Town Hall meetings going on right now in a neighborhood near you.

    They are all listed in my \”upcoming\” events in the sidebar and you can view the entire list here.

    sorry that was not clear in the article.

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  • Ryan Knapper October 19, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Some random site has Portland at number two on the list of most bike-friendly cities (worldwide*. Hopefully after these upgrades we\’ll be number one.

    http://www.virgin-vacations.com/site_vv/11-most-bike-friendly-cities.asp

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  • Patrick October 19, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    My daughter and I went to one last night and it was a great opportunity to talk to Sam Adams about traffic issues. The Green Streets Plan is very worth our support. It’s important to maintain a majority of bicyclists and non-car driving citizens at these meetings. Because it raises taxes there will be a lot of resistance with all the “no new taxes” contingent (who seem to religiously show up to these meetings). Without our vocal support the plan can easily fail.

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  • Anonymous October 19, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Re: #5

    We outrank Copenhagen? This is hilarious.

    1 Amsterdam
    2 Portland
    3 Copenhagen
    4 Boulder
    5 Davis
    6 Sandnes
    7 Trondheim
    8 San Francisco
    9 Berlin
    10 Barcelona
    11 Basel

    I don\’t expect much from Virgin Atlantic\’s bizarre eurocentric \”statistics,\” but I sincerely hope that we don\’t actually believe that any American city is close to being on such a list.

    Let\’s keep things in perspective.

    Portland might be the best biking city in the US, and that\’s something to be proud of but we\’re certainly not on any worldwide top 10 lists yet. We\’ve got a long way to go and the BTA gives me hope that we\’re on track to get there.

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  • Carl October 19, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Re: #5

    We outrank Copenhagen? This is hilarious.

    1 Amsterdam
    2 Portland
    3 Copenhagen
    4 Boulder
    5 Davis
    6 Sandnes
    7 Trondheim
    8 San Francisco
    9 Berlin
    10 Barcelona
    11 Basel

    I don\’t expect much from Virgin Atlantic\’s bizarre eurocentric \”statistics,\” but I sincerely hope that we don\’t actually believe that any American city is close to being on such a list.

    Let\’s keep things in perspective.

    Portland might be the best biking city in the US, and that\’s something to be proud of but we\’re certainly not on any worldwide top 10 lists yet. We\’ve got a long way to go and the BTA gives me hope that we\’re on track to get there.

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  • BURR October 19, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    So I\’m having trouble finding a breakdown of how this money might be spent, can someone who knows please explain how much of the proposed $54 million will actually be earmarked for bike-ped projects, because I don\’t think the whole amount is.

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  • N.I.K. October 19, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Because it raises taxes there will be a lot of resistance with all the “no new taxes” contingent (who seem to religiously show up to these meetings).

    I think you mean the big-L Libertarians pushing that \”user pays\” mantra. They\’re very much *for* instituting a (largely redundant) bicycle tax/licensing fee. Fortunately they\’re curmudgeonly bores and are relatively easy to shout down.

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  • Karl Rohde October 19, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    The Breakdown is roughly as follows:

    – $4 million to fix problems at high crash intersections
    – $2 million for pedestrian safety improvements
    – $3.3 million for Safe Routes to School
    – $25 million for Bike Safety Corridors!
    – $13.2 million to build sidewalks on arterials that lack them
    – $4.6 million Neighborhood Coalition identified traffic safety priorities
    – $2.0 in administrative costs

    In addition, the money being spent on maintenance is good for cycling as it will get rid of all the potholes and rough pavement on arterials throughout the City.

    This is the most money spent by PDOT on bicycle infrastructure in decades. Furthermore, unless motorized transportation disappears entirely, the amount spent on bike and ped infrastructure will always be less because bike and ped infrastructure simply costs less to build. Even in the Netherlands, where they spend huge sums on bike and ped infrastructure, they spend more on auto infrastructure because of its higher costs.

    Commissioner Adams is going to need all the support we can give him to get this passed and implemented so go to the town halls and show your support.

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  • Joe October 19, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    I\’m not so great at public speaking, but maybe if I just go to one and get comfortable listening to everyone else I\’ll get the nerve to say something helpful. Of course I\’ll provide comments/letters through the website too.

    As for the amount of $$ dedicated to bike/ped projects, I think that\’s a good amount that will go quite far in improving the bike friendliness of this city. Also, we should remember that these improvements will lead to more biking, which will raise awareness and visibility of bicyclists on our roads, resulting in a generalized improvement in safety. Also, money spent on all roads benefits most road users (bicyclists, motorists, freight, and transit), so I don\’t mind that the majority of funds go for those purposes – as long as very little goes to capacity increases.. I really hope to see this plan happen.

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  • Brian October 19, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    \”cycle-tracks on all arterials\”

    is that a fancy name for bike lanes?

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  • Dabby October 20, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Securing more fundingfor things is great, but cycle tracks and more bike lanes are not.

    There is no sharing the road when we are divided in it….

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  • Hawthorne October 21, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Despite all of the good that they do, here\’s why I don\’t roll with the BTA:

    \”Scott Bricker, interim executive director of the BTA, played a key role \”

    \”The BTA got it into the package\”

    Is this about PR and self promotion or about doing what is right for all cyclists?

    Back in the day the BTA wasn\’t about the individuals…or even the organization…it was about doing the right thing.

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  • N.I.K. October 21, 2007 at 10:41 am

    I see where you\’re coming from, Hawthorne. This item is very \”BTA BTA BTA!\”. And many of us have talked about how Mr. Bricker has occasionally accused the community of being a bunch of law-violatin\’ ingrates who don\’t appreciate all the hard work he\’s done, even right here on bikeportland.org.

    BUT!

    1) The BTA still does us all a lot of good. As someone who\’s been skeptical of some things that have come out of them in the past, I still say they do us much, much, much more good than harm.

    and

    2) This an action alert, which is similar in function to a press release. Generally speaking, promotional materials talk up the entity they\’re focusing on. :)

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