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Bikes don’t merit a mention in Governor’s ‘State of the State’

Posted by on March 24th, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Governor Ted Kulongoski addressed Oregon residents with his ‘State of the State’ speech on Friday.

(Photo © J. Maus)

In it, he talked about how transportation is one of his top five policy priorities. He mentions the importance of funding roads and bridges, seaports, airports, and railroads. All good places to invest for sure.

But in all of his talk about our transportation, congestion, traffic safety and climate change problems, the bicycle — a particularly cheap and readily-available solution to all of the above — didn’t even merit a mention.

Fortunately he seems clearly aware of the problem:

“Our transportation infrastructure is still not keeping up with population growth or freight traffic…Millions of Oregonians sit in traffic every day and fume – and I don’t mean tailpipe emissions, although that’s a problem too. Congestion is frustrating. It’s costly. It adds to global warming. And if we don’t act – it is going to get worse.”

He also seemed adequately energized on the topic:

“This problem must be solved the right way – the Oregon way! Oregon must have the greenest transportation system in the country. This will not happen if all we do is build more roads. In the words of transportation experts – the system must be multi-modal.”

I know what you’re thinking… this was the perfect opportunity for him to mention bicycles. But he goes on,

“That means alternatives fuels for our cars and trucks. And even more important – alternative vehicles, like electric cars and light rail, to eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Bummer.

He forgot to mention the simple, fossil-fuel-free method thousands of people in Portland and across the state use to get to work everyday — the bicycle.

I realize bike traffic is not quite the political heavyweight that “freight traffic” is, but believe it or not those two concepts aren’t just connected, they’re complementary. In Amsterdam, freight interests fully support the encouragement of bicycle use as a way to clear roads of single-occupancy vehicles that stand between their trucks and tulip buyers who pay top dollar for freshly cut flowers.

Fortunately, Governor Kulongoski will get an up-close look at bike traffic when he visits Amsterdam at the end of this month.

I’m not down on the Governor. I’m confident he’ll support bike-related measures when they come up in the Legislature next session. After all, he said in his speech that he’ll, “present a comprehensive transportation package to the Legislature that will be larger, greener, safer, and more strategic than anything we’ve done before.”

It will be our responsibility to make sure that’s a promise he keeps and that the next speech he gives about transportation doesn’t leave out vehicles of the human-powered and two-wheeled variety.

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Comments
  • Peter W March 24, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Only in Orwellian Newspeak does \”multi-modal\” mean \”alternative fuels for our cars and trucks\”.

    Thats really frustrating… and he\’s supposedly a democrat, right?

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  • mmann March 24, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I heard the speech, and while I admit he did not mention bikes per se, he was pretty emphatic that transportation in Oregon will have to de-emphasize the primacy of the car, and that reducing traffic and emissions will be high priorities in planning and funding. He also targeted the new I-5 bridge and insisted it WILL be more accessible to pedestrians and will be a showcase to the rest of the nation. I would caution everyone to not read too much in to what he didn\’t say, but to also keep the pressure on to make sure cycling interests have a seat at the table. We may not be on the same page, but for now I\’m choosing to believe we\’re at least reading the same book.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 24, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    I agree with you mman. I\’m not sounding the alarm here or anything… I\’ve just noticed that it\’s common for all these issues to be talked about by politicians yet they very infrequently ever mention bicycles directly and I think that\’s too bad.

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  • Jessica Roberts March 24, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I think we\’re witnessing a cognitive disconnect that happens when good smart people realize, intellectually, that cars are destroying us…yet cannot take the next step to imagine themselves actually reducing their car use.

    What comes out of that? A delusional obsession with hybrid/electric cars and \”alternative fuels\”…as if some magic car that runs on water would somehow cure the many other ills caused by cars (such as 42,000 traffic deaths each year, sprawl resulting in fragmented communities where you can\’t walk and bike, a majority of public space being squandered on storing and moving automobiles, etc. etc.).

    I\’m sad to say that I\’ve seen it in my own family as well. My parents have chosen to live in a place where they have lots of land, but you can only drive. They\’re smart, they \”get it,\” and so they feel some sense of guilt around their lifestyle. That is, they did feel that, until my dad bought a Prius. Now I think he feels like there\’s no problem with their \”rural residential\” lifestyle.

    It makes me sad, and sometimes it\’s hard to be hopeful.

    Where does Ted live? Can we stage a friendly bicycle intervention?

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  • DJ Hurricane March 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    I can assure you that the Governor wants to change the transportation infrastructure for the better, but knows that he has to do so in a politically realistic way. The reason he\’s not mentioning bikes here is that no one has yet shown him, in so many words, how bicycles fit as a realistic and important part of the transportation solution.

    He talks about things like alternative fules, for example, because he has tons of venture capitalists, developers, and his own sustainability advisor talking about the potential of celluosic ethanol for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating the rural Oregon economy at the same time.

    In short, he sees certain paths forward because people have shown him. Here is another example of the immaturity of the bike movement (and I mean that developmentally, not emotionally). No one is explaining how bikes can solve the problem in the way he needs to make it part of the plan.

    Look at the recent 1,000 Friends/OEC report on how to lower GHG emissions through land use – it didn\’t include much on bikes. That\’s not because 1,000 Friends and OEC are anti-bike, but because they\’re not bike advocates per se. They\’re looking at transportation as it is now, not the possibilities of biking in isolation.

    There is a gap in advocacy and demonstrating political value at the highest levels still for bikes. BTA is growing into that role, but is not going to fill it any time in the near future because of budget and expertise.

    Only if we fill that gap will we see major changes in transportation policy favoring bikes. It\’s goingn to take something beyond what we now have.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 24, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Although I know Jessica Roberts is a thoughtful and effective advocate for cycling, I think her comment, \”Where does Ted live? Can we stage a friendly bicycle intervention?\” typifies my point.

    The Governor is as receptive of a governor as you will get for bike rights, but that\’s not the way to get him to advocate for the policy change you want. You have to show him the potential of bikes, and in a way that presents him with concrete economic value and vehicle miles saved.

    Mia Burk has begun the sort of thing he\’d need to see, but there are no advocacy or non-profit groups doing what has been done for biofuels, renewable energy, public transit, land use, and numerous other environmentally positive technologies and transportation modes.

    Again, that gap needs to be filled. And I might add that filling that gap would do more for bike advocacy in all respects than any single other area of advocacy, because it would offer bikes as a solution to what the Governor and Legislature agree is one of the State\’s most pressing problems.

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  • Jessica Roberts March 24, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I hear what you are saying, DJ Hurricane, and I think you are right that the economic argument is very important. But I also think that there are many allies in words who are not yet allies in action. Until we can help decisionmakers start to make change in their own transportation habits, bicycling will continue to be a theory to them, and they\’re going to continue to forget to mention bikes.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 24, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    True enough.

    And if you elect me Governor, I promise to bike to work every day!

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  • Donna March 24, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    If the governor is visiting Amsterdam shortly, perhaps now would be a good time to drop him a friendly line and encourage him to pay close attention to the bicycle transportation network while he is there.

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  • Scott Mizée March 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    So… DJ, are you running for governor? :)

    just make sure you don\’t accept any survey donations to your campaign before you officially become a candidate…. oh wait… I think I have the wrong office…

    So… Is anyone going to start an advocacy group for what is being discussed here? …or is the foundation of the BTA just need to be built upon with more time, money, people, and passion?

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  • Scott Mizée March 24, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Good point, Donna. Perhaps a good suggestion for many of us to follow up on.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 24, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    No public office for me, at least for some time to come. But I know the Governor, his sustainability advisor, and almost everyone on his global warming commission. If they were to be armed with the right kind of evidence on how bikes could replace vehicle miles traveled, I have no doubt that they would advocate for it.

    There is an important condition precedent to bikes becoming a mainstream transportation option, however: Safety. Until people feel that people in motor vehicles are being more safe on the roads, many of them simply will not bike. That\’s a problem the Governor and the Legislature could solve easily, and for which there likely is substantial political support. IMHO, this is where the bike advocates need to be focusing their efforts.

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  • Todd B March 24, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Any grad students out there looking for a challenge?

    I am sure if we did the number crunching we would find that Oregon (and Portland) makes more bicycles (state defined as a vehicle) than automobiles now.

    How about this as a plank for next years State of the State or City address?

    Thinking as an urban planner, it is long past the time when a small regional city could hope for a big 3 automotive plant…but it is much easier to develop a mutilmodal vehicle manufacturing base (bicycles, and rail freight cars, electric cars, etc.) – with local resources too. (Keeping profits here longer before being spun out to other places.)

    These investments will also likley lead to the next era of patents and VC funded consumer gear spinoffs.

    Plus some cushion from higher fuel charges…reliance on \’fuel free\’ local mobility and a reduction in the current bias towards shipping cheaper wage goods around the world with subsidized fuels to areas with higher wage and direct social charges.

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  • Curt Dewees March 24, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    I believe Governor Kulongoski lives in the Governor\’s Mansion in Salem. Before he was elected governor, Ted and his wife lived in their house in Laurelhurst, a close-in SE (bike-friendly) neighborhood. I think they sold that house when they moved to Salem.

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  • steve March 24, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    I ride bicycles virtually everywhere I go, and have for longer than I care to recollect. I am aware of all the crud associated with cars.

    That all said, bicycles will not fix our problems. Though they might make us all happier! The pollution caused by people driving about town is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to shipping, manufacturing, inter-state commerce/travel, airtravel, space shuttle/satellite launches, volcanos, forest fires, warfare, cattle farts, and energy production. It is an inconvenient fact.

    Less cars will obviously help with all the other blight and death found in their wake. However, it ain\’t going to help our energy or pollution problems. Or our democracy/representative republic problems.

    The bicycle should be part of a sound plan for the environment, transportation planning/design, and general quality of life, I just wish we would get real here about it\’s practical limitations as a remedy to the problems we collectively face.

    Hell, Jessica here is excoriating her parents for living a rural lifestyle and using a Prius to do so. Should we all pile into toxic, overpopulated cities and live in hi-rise apartment buildings? If you disagree with my usage of the word toxic, please research the radioactive waste distributed throughout the northern parts of Portland. Or go for a swim in your nearest Superfund waterway.

    If we all suddenly were riding bikes (yeah right! no cure for lazy, not even $10 a gallon will slow em down, just wait and see), we would still be floating virtually every consumable resource we use across the pond. We will still be using coal and nuclear fired electricity. We will still be importing food from half way around the globe.

    And so forth.

    Anyway, be advocates, but please be sensible and realistic. Broaden your discussion so as to not look naive and perhaps a wee less single minded in your pursuits.

    Just a thought.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 24, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    \”If the governor is visiting Amsterdam shortly, perhaps now would be a good time to drop him a friendly line and encourage him to pay close attention to the bicycle transportation network while he is there.\”

    That was part of my goal in trying to go with him on the trip. It was close to happening but unfortunately it never came together.

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  • Scott Mizée March 24, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Very interesting comments, Steve. I appreciate your perspective and request ofr a broader discussion.

    […]be advocates, but please be sensible and realistic. Broaden your discussion so as to not look naive and perhaps a wee less single minded in your pursuits.

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  • SH March 24, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Disappointing.

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  • steve March 24, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks Scott.

    I certainly did not mean to discourage the fantabulousness of bicycles, or their proponents.

    Seeing Jessica\’s comments before, and Jonathan\’s reference to \’climate change\’ in the original post, I thought maybe a reality check should be tossed out.

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  • wsbob March 25, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Lots of things are going to change as the price of gas for motor vehicles goes higher. I can imagine that a number of Vancouver to Portland job commuters are seriously re-evaluating some aspects of their strategy of securing affordable housing by buying a house in a location that may be far away from their job.

    Cheap, readily available fuel has made that kind of thing possible in the past, just as it has the importation of food from around the globe while fertile valleys in our own region are paved with single family dwellings.

    If there were less motor vehicle pollution and traffic congestion in the city, a lot of people might not feel as compelled as they are to travel 20-30 miles everyday to escape it. If they could afford a nice place near their job, accessible by bike on a well engineered, easy to use, safe to travel bikeway, instead of a freeway, people might just start getting out of their cars. That could save all kinds of money, in addition to making this a better place to live.

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  • steve March 25, 2008 at 1:46 am

    The gas for a round trip to Vancouver is 4-8 bucks or so depending on mileage and distance. People spend that at the coffee shop every morning without batting an eye.

    My commute by bike is 11 miles roundtrip. It would cost me more to use the bus than to use gasoline and drive(not counting vehicle cost and upkeep). I bike, so it doesnt\’t matter to me, I am just pointing out how cheap gas is. The half gallon of Grapefruit juice I like costs $8.99.

    All the stats I have seen show more and more people commuting in and out of Portland every year. They are projecting this to continue and increase.

    So, wsbob, I suppose you \’can imagine\’ it all you want. Cause that is the only place it is happening, which sort of leads back to my initial post.

    Reality sort of sucks when you actually look at it. I don\’t think any of us are really helping out by ignoring it.

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  • Schrauf March 25, 2008 at 4:31 am

    Great post by Jessica:

    \”I think we\’re witnessing a cognitive disconnect that happens when good smart people realize, intellectually, that cars are destroying us…yet cannot take the next step to imagine themselves actually reducing their car use.

    What comes out of that? A delusional obsession with hybrid/electric cars and \”alternative fuels\”…as if some magic car that runs on water would somehow cure the many other ills caused by cars (such as 42,000 traffic deaths each year, sprawl resulting in fragmented communities where you can\’t walk and bike, a majority of public space being squandered on storing and moving automobiles, etc. etc.).\”

    I also totally see Steve\’s point, although you have to start somewhere, and not everybody can be an advocate for everything. If people passionate about cycling focus on encouraging and spreading the benefits of cycling, that is one front of the battle. But I agree a realistic well-rounded argument will be heard more clearly and be more effective.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 25, 2008 at 7:20 am

    steve, you need to go look up some facts on the hazardous air pollutants and carbon dioxide produced by the transportation sector in Oregon and Washington, then go look up how many vehicle miles traveled are private non-commercial vs commercial vehicles. Then come back and act like you know what you\’re talking about.

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  • Jerrod Potter March 25, 2008 at 7:59 am

    #4, well said!

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  • BikingViking March 25, 2008 at 8:22 am

    So who\’s running in 2010? Maybe it\’s time we, as the bike community, start trawling for candidates. It\’s not too early to begin a grass-roots campaign to look for the next Bud Clark.

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  • Austin Ramsland March 25, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Jessica Roberts:

    \”I think we\’re witnessing a cognitive disconnect that happens when good smart people realize, intellectually, that cars are destroying us…yet cannot take the next step to imagine themselves actually reducing their car use.

    What comes out of that? A delusional obsession with hybrid/electric cars and \”alternative fuels\”…as if some magic car that runs on water would somehow cure the many other ills caused by cars (such as 42,000 traffic deaths each year, sprawl resulting in fragmented communities where you can\’t walk and bike, a majority of public space being squandered on storing and moving automobiles, etc. etc.).

    I\’m sad to say that I\’ve seen it in my own family as well. My parents have chosen to live in a place where they have lots of land, but you can only drive. They\’re smart, they \”get it,\” and so they feel some sense of guilt around their lifestyle. That is, they did feel that, until my dad bought a Prius. Now I think he feels like there\’s no problem with their \”rural residential\” lifestyle.

    It makes me sad, and sometimes it\’s hard to be hopeful.\”

    Jessica – I think that is one of the most reasoned and insightful observations I have seen on BikePortland.

    Even though we went car free a year ago, I still get excited when I see a little Smart Car truckin\’ around, or smell biodiesel from one of those old VWs. But you are right – there is no magic fuel, no magic car. And the best thing I can do is just to keep riding, taking the MAX, and grab the Zipcar when I really need it.

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  • G.A.R. March 25, 2008 at 8:31 am

    I\’m a little sweaty when I get to work sometimes, and my procedure is 20 times as efficient as a car commute in terms of CO2 production. Wouldn\’t it be great if somehow all those greenhouse gases and noxious fumes were to cling to a motorist like so much kitchen garbage as he disembarks from his car and strides confidently into the office. Naturally he showers when he arrives, getting even more gunk all over himself from the hot water heater\’s emissions. Then, confident that he\’s no filthier than his customers, he stews in his juices all day before driving home for a bout with ten pounds of junk mail, half an hour with a lawnmower (and the ensuing stench), and another reeking shower. It beats waking up to find you\’ve become a giant cockroach, but not by much.

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  • bahueh March 25, 2008 at 8:32 am

    on the Governor\’s behalf..he is making 25% of your energy usage renewable and sustainable within the next 17 years…while laying the groundwork for further renewable energy development.
    he has done good in this state…

    what would you all have him do exactly to further bicycle usage in Oregon?
    tax incentives?

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  • Beth March 25, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Quoting DJ:

    \”The reason he\’s not mentioning bikes here is that no one has yet shown him, in so many words, how bicycles fit as a realistic and important part of the transportation solution.\”

    Are you for real?

    \”No one is explaining how bikes can solve the problem in the way he needs to make it part of the plan.\”

    This is plainly untrue. We hear explanations every day from Sam Adams, the BTA, and the Dept of Transportation.

    If the governor hasn\’t heard that bicycles can be a part of the solution, then he hasn\’t been listening.

    \”There is a gap in advocacy and demonstrating political value at the highest levels still for bikes. BTA is growing into that role, but is not going to fill it any time in the near future because of budget and expertise.\”

    You\’re talking about money. This is precisely why people tune out of the political game. Politicians only listen to the money; you say the BTA is \”growing into that role\” but what you mean is that they are channeling money into politicians at a higher rate these days. And when you say \”at the highest levels\”, you mean channeling money into the hands of the more powerful politicians or special interests; the car and oil industry do it, so if the bicycle industry wants the same attention, they better do it too?

    \”You have to show him the potential of bikes, and in a way that presents him with concrete economic value and vehicle miles saved.\”

    Every year, a study is conducted by the Dept of Transportation that shows that as infrastructure increases, ridership increases proportionally. And, only a few years ago, bicyclists were declared a major market here in P-town. Once again, if the governor hasn\’t heard of these things, then he isn\’t listening.

    I wonder who exactly he is listening to? Perhaps his speech tells us who: automobile and fuel lobbyists.

    \”There is an important condition precedent to bikes becoming a mainstream transportation option, however: Safety.\”

    The last refuge of the scoundrels: claim that bicycling isn\’t as safe as riding around in a 3000 lb metal box. Your bike advocates have been advocating for higher standards and punishments against people who harm bicyclists for years now, but until someone with political clout starts listening, then nothing will change.

    This state-of-the-state speech tells me all I need to know about where the governor stands, and that\’s not with us.

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  • G.A.R. March 25, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I think a State of the State address that says bikes are our future would be laughable in so many quarters that it cannot happen. Hats off to the Guv for putting green transportation at the top of the list. Here in bike heaven we can all think it is code for bikes (which I believe it largely is). In Prineville it can be hydrogen fuel cells or whatever. Unlike heating homes and smelting aluminum, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit when it comes to making transportation more efficient, so put it at the top of the list and bring on the great ideas.

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  • Pete March 25, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Beth: good point on safety. Sure, we have some scary close calls and our risk of being hit isn\’t insignificant, but we have two choices. We could revert back to driving \’safe\’ metal boxes, or become safer riders. I bet most riders fall into the latter category; most cyclists I know have ridden thousands of miles over decades without a scratch. And if the infrastructure is there to support it the odds of us riding safely go up dramatically. And if the Governor of the \”most bike-friendly\” state in the Union advocates cycling with any opportunity to use his words, funding for the infrastructure may improve.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 25, 2008 at 11:13 am

    @#29:

    Beth, I think you\’ve misunderstood me. I\’m explaining the political reality of how you get policy makers to do what you want. I\’m not defending it. I\’m explaining it.

    And yes, I am talking partly about money. I do not mean that BTA is \”channeling money into politicians.\” In fact, I don\’t even know what that means short of bribery. I mean there is not effective advocacy for bikes as transportation the way there is for other potential transportation solutions, such as biofuels. I cited a specific instance of a report that explained transportation solutions in a way that BTA or any other group has yet to do with respect to bikes. That needs to change for policy makers to start paying more attention to bikes.

    The other thing I want to address is your mischaracterization of my statements on safety. We\’re on the same page here. I\’m one of the people advocating for increased safety. My point is that, unless we make the safety change, biking cannot assume its proper role as environmentally-responsible and sustainable transportation. BTA\’s own data show that people want to bike but are afraid of irresponsible behavior by motorists causing them serious injury. That\’s where we, you and I, need to focus our advocacy efforts.

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  • steve March 25, 2008 at 11:40 am

    D.J,

    You are the one who is \’acting\’ like you know what you are talking about.

    I actually know what I am talking about. Get back to me when you pull your head out yer tush.

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  • DJ Hurricane March 25, 2008 at 11:45 am

    \”The pollution caused by people driving about town is a tiny drop in the bucket…\”

    That\’s just plain wrong, steve. That\’s why you cannot provide any facts to support your contention. Too bad.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 25, 2008 at 11:50 am

    OK steve and DJ Hurricane… I\’m starting to feel like a teacher on the playground with you two.

    You are both intelligent and have important ideas to share… why muddle that up with childish back-and-forths?

    no one is the authority on this… we are sharing ideas and we have different perspectives. Please let everyone try and share theirs without being so confrontational.

    You might think your personal banter only involves you two, but others read it and are afraid to comment and join the conversation as a result.

    thanks for your consideration.

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  • Matt Picio March 25, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    steve (#15) Respectfully, bicycles would solve quite a few problems – the vast majority of trips are made in single-occupancy, non-commercial vehicles. Despite your dismissive comment, more pollution is generated by people around town than any two of the other sources you mention (with the possible exception of biogenic methane) Your \”inconvenient fact\” is also an incorrect one.

    I\’m curious as to why you feel that bicycling advocates should be less single-minded, when the automotive companies, the federal and state governments, and many advocacy organizations are equally single-minded about hybrid vehicles and alternative energy. Continuing the current motor-centric mindset and the current energy expenditure is not only ill-advised, it\’s also impractical.

    We need to reduce consumption, encourage human power over machine power, and enocurage the movement of freight by sea and by rail. We need to encourage a zero-growth population rate in the developed world, and reduce our footprint so we can meet the developing world somewhere in the middle. We need to stop the \”growth is good\” mentality that pervades our society and encourage the notion that a little hard work isn\’t going to kill us.

    You\’re right – the bicycle should be *part* of a sound plan – the reason why bike advocates are so \”naive and single-minded\” is because it\’s not, and because no one is currently making it so. We\’re going to advocate, proclaimate, evangelize, theorize, proselytize, and do whatever we can to make it part of the discussion until it *is* part of the plan. You\’re right that the bike can\’t do *everything*, but it\’s barely being used to do ANYTHING. That needs to change.

    There\’s a CSA in town that\’s delivering produce to its customers by bike. There are dozens of businesses in Portland that deliver their products by bike. Somewhere between 3.5% and 7% of Portland bikes to work. I moved nearly my entire apartment (2,500+ pounds of stuff) over 12 miles, by bike. Yesterday I carried home $150 of groceries and small appliances on my touring bike. I\’ve moved 60lb. IKEA furniture boxes in my bike trailer, and since August I live entirely car-free.

    You said \”less cars won\’t help\” our pollution / democracy issues. True. But more bikes will. Watch someone start riding to work every day, or start bike touring, and tell me that their newfound freedom doesn\’t enable them to take control of other aspects of their lives. That kind of personal responsibility and self-reliance is the most powerful thing any of us can do to enhance democracy and participatory government in this region, state and country.

    Oh, and I\’m 60lbs. overweight, used to work for the auto industry, and lived in Detroit for over 20 years. People change, and one of the best things about Portland is that given enough time, all the people that move here eventually adopt similar values.

    If you have other ideas, great – go with them. Work to put them into action, get involved! I\’m going to keep being naive and single-minded. It works for me. Once you tell yourself something is impossible, it becomes so for you. I\’d rather not live there – that\’s exactly what kept me stuck in Detroit for the majority of my life.

    \”Live Free or Drive\” has a lot more power and relevance – I think if Patrick Henry were here today, that he\’d approve.

    Respectfully,
    -matt picio

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  • DJ Hurricane March 25, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    no one is the authority on this

    Except that I actually am an authority on the issue of air pollution.

    I\’m not trying to act all important, but it just happens that I work daily with the Clean Air Act and the six criteria hazardous air pollutants. So just because of my job I happen to know that, for example, 77% of nationwide carbon monoxide emissions are from transportation sources, that nitrogen dioxide forms when nitric oxide in the air oxidizes, and that nitric oxide comes primarily from combustion sources, such as motor vehicles.

    So I feel the need to call BS when I see it. And it is total BS to say that \”The pollution caused by people driving about town is a tiny drop in the bucket…\”

    It\’s the same thing you and others do when people say things like \”Cyclists don\’t pay taxes that go to pay for roads and other infrastructure.\”

    And it\’s every bit as important, IMHO, to point out that motor vehicles are a major cause of hazardous air pollution, both for the sake of accuracy and for the sake of dispelling the myths of the pro-status quo, anti-bike crowd (not saying steve is one of those people).

    And so all I asked for was \”facts.\” I\’ll try to be nicer about the way I ask in the future. Or perhaps you\’d prefer if I just avoid pointing these things out at all?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 25, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    \”I\’ll try to be nicer about the way I ask in the future. Or perhaps you\’d prefer if I just avoid pointing these things out at all?\”

    I realize you know a lot about the topic… but yes, all I ask is that you try and be as nice as possible to those who are less informed. thanks.

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  • Karl Rohde March 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    The BTA is engaged in substantial advocacy at the State level. We work to get bills that are favorable to bicycling introduced and passed in the Legislature. We are in the process of developing our agenda for the 2009 legislative session with the input of the bicycling community right now. We are working with ODOT, the Oregon Transportation Commission and other agencies on bicycle issues as well as interest groups such as the AAA and the Oregon Trucking Association.

    Our Executive Director, Scott Bricker, is on the Governor’s Transportation Vision Task Force and I serve on the Governor’s Transportation Governance Task Force. While I cannot explain the Governor’s failure to mention bicycling specifically in his State of the State speech, I can assure the readers of this forum that we are actively working to expand the Governor’s understanding of bicycle issues.

    I am a bit curious as to who “steve” and “DJ Hurricane” are, as they seem to have a lot of ideas and opinions that might be helpful to me in our work. I know Jessica well and rely heavily on her counsel and have met Matt Picio and respect his input. I may not always be able to track all the postings on bikeportland.org but welcome direct communications from its readers. I would further like to encourage everyone to attend the Oregon Bike Summit coming up the first weekend in April to provide input on policy making.

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  • Karl Rohde March 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    One more thing… the Governor resides in Mahonia Hall, the official residence. It is less than 2 miles from his office at the State Capitol.

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  • Cøyøte March 25, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I cannot believe that anyone is giving Tedski a pass on this speech. Ted – WAKE UP! Talking about congestion and in the next breath talking about alternate fuels and electric vehicles in the next breath labels you as a Boomer panderer for car central.

    Ted, if an ethanol powered Prius runs over me, will I still be dead?

    Rail? What did you have in mind Ted? you have 3 years left. Have you proposed any light rail projects? Do you have even one in the works? You barely have time left to get through the proposal stage. Pathetic!

    It is time to call the Boomers on their bluff. Change the world or get the hell out of the way – NOW!. Ted has very little time left to really get anything done. Stumping for Senator Pantsuit half way across the country is not helping either his credibility, or his time management. Focus on the the job you hired for Tedski.

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  • wsbob March 25, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Steve #21, apparently you imagine yourself as someone having such a solid grasp of reality concerning the factors regulating people\’s preference for gas burning cars as transportation.

    When it comes to the question of what reasonable measures might be taken towards leading them in the direction of transportation alternatives more in tune with the demands of today\’s world, you seem content to answer only with cynical, defeatist grumbling.

    That kind of response doesn\’t do anything to change the habits of people that are content, as you seem to suggest, \”…4-8 bucks or so…\” everyday at the coffeshop, or that think $4/gal gasoline is no big deal because \”The half gallon of Grapefruit juice I like costs $8.99.\”.

    Many, many people are not laughing off the cost of gas like you, the $8.99/half-gal grapefruit drinker seems to be. Some of them are likely to be cutting out even 99 cent/half-gallon juice, just so they can afford to buy the stinking $4/gal gas to fill their car for the commute.

    Those people and even others less economically strapped, might be the kinds of people that would readily embrace the idea of a safe, easily negotiable bike route from their home to work, if the region was better served by that kind of transportation infrastructure. Many people may do it because it has in the past, been relatively cheap, but I think that there are a lot of people stuck out there on the freeways during rush hour, surrounded by stuffy exhaust fumes, that would much rather be a mile or two away from their job, to which they could quickly get to on foot, by bike, or mass transit.

    This area of consideration is one I think the governor could really use to make some effective points in the right places.

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  • wsbob March 25, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    That kind of response doesn\’t do anything to change the habits of people that are content (to spend), as you seem to suggest,…

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  • steve March 27, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    So to recap.

    If you say bikes are great, you use them every day, and you encourage others to do so. Heck, you say you even encourage others, to encourage others to do so. But, with the caveat the bicycles are not the end all, be all solution to every major problem we collectively face. You get to hear…

    Whacko! Shut up! Ignorant and disrespectful!

    So, I get it now. Every problem the world is facing great or small, Bicycle!

    Thanks for laying your rational and well thought out plans out for us all.

    Wsbob, it is about time for you to attempt to condense/repeat the discussion for everyone..

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  • […] saw an interesting comment the other day, about the cognitive disconnect that people feel when they start to understand the impact of cars. […]

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  • nat April 26, 2008 at 2:49 am

    Sorry to come in late; got wind of it via Sweatpea.

    Anyway, just one thing i feel th eneed to address: a couple of times, the ideas that safety is the biggest impediment to people cycling has come up. Great! That means your job\’s already been done for you. Cycling is already safer than being in a car (unless Portland is some sort of significant anomaly within the Western world), so all you need to do is tell people this.

    Now, of course, by \”tell\” i mean \”convince\”, and that probably means an expensive ad campaign. But, still, there\’s no spin or massive change of circumstances involved, just straightforward explanation of already-existing facts and circumstances. Hopefully this is a case where the truth will win.

    Either that, or you\’ll at least have put the lie to the objection, as people will have to admit that whatever\’s stopping them, it isn\’t personal danger, and you can then start addressing the *real* concern(s).

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