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Bike Plan passes with unanimous support and a $20 million commitment

Posted by on February 11th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

“It shows our support for getting going with a bang.”
— Mayor Adams on his $20 million commitment

The Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 passed with unanimous support by City Council this afternoon and the vote came with a $20 million commitment from Mayor Adams.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who created quite a dust storm with a funding proposal last week, decided to heed advice from the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and fold his idea into the plan (which calls for a Funding Task Force where ideas like his can be fleshed out).

After dispatching with Saltzman’s amendment, saying “I think this plan deserves better in terms of a funding source,” Adams proposed a new funding concept that will commit $20 million to bike projects. Adams said he’ll return to council in 30 days with more details on the “kickstart funding option,” but for now he said, “It shows our support for getting going with a bang.”

New markings at SE 12th and Clay-1.jpg
A green street built by BES.

According to Adams’ transportation policy advisor Catherine Ciarlo, the Mayor’s idea commits $2 million per year to bike projects for the next 10 years (the money will also be “bonded against,” a process which I still don’t completely understand).

Adams’ office is yet to figure out every detail of where the $2 million per year will come from. The main source will be the Bureau of Environmental Services’ (BES) Green Streets program. BES and PBOT have worked together via the Green Streets program for years. In a nutshell, the program re-constructs roads to better handle stormwater runoff. The big bike-related component of Green Streets are curb extensions with bioswales (see photo at right).

Adams’ concept is to work with Saltzman and BES to find money in the BES budget, devote it to the Green Streets program, and then build curb extensions with the money. Curb extensions (also known as “neckdowns”) are a popular — and expensive — tool in PBOT’s bike boulevard tool kit.

It’s important to note that Adams’ $20 million, if it comes mostly from BES, will not be a blank check to build cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes, etc… The funds will only go toward curb extensions and other street features that are part of the Green Streets program. While that constraint might disappoint some (especially those who despise curb extensions in general), it also means other funds available for bike projects can go toward other things.

Another place in the BES budget Adams said he’d look for funds is “administrative savings” from the bureau’s Big Pipe project, which he said is “winding down.”

The other Commissioners had nothing but praise for Adams and the plan.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz said “This is a plan that is not going to sit on the shelf; it will get daily use.” Addressing concerns she’s heard about the “$600 million price tag” of the plan, she said she is still focused on her mantra of “providing basic services” to Portlanders and that “walking and bicycling are basic services.” “All of us want all of our citizens to be safe as they move around our city.”

Commissioner Nick Fish prefaced his remarks by turning to Mayor Adams and saying, “This is your moment, so I’ll be brief.” He gave Adams and PBOT staff a lot of credit for seeing the plan through. “I can’t think of a process that has been more inclusive… credit goes to the Mayor.” Fish also remarked that, “This will make bicycling a cornerstone of Portland’s sustainable transportation system…. As a father of a 6 year old, this is particularly exciting for me.” (Fish also used his time to mention his work on creating more off-road trail opportunities in Portland.)

Before voting in support of the plan, Commissioner Dan Saltzman said, “If we waited for funding before we did something we wouldn’t have streetcars!… You have to be ambitious and shoot for the stars. This is a plan that does that.”

Saltzman also addressed Adams’ “kickstart” funding concept, saying, “It’s a concept I’m fully prepared to embrace, but I need to think about how it might impact ratepayers and… I need to see the details…”

Commissioner Randy Leonard called Adams’ funding idea, “Ingenious.” “It ties our desire to build smarter streets and sidewalks and bikeways with the impact it has on our streams and rivers.”

Michelle Poyourow of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, an advocate who has contributed immensely to the development of the Bike Plan, said, “I can’t think of a better way to end my second-to-last day on the job.” (She resigned from the BTA last week).

The vote was 5-0. There were big smiles from the PBOT staff on hand. They have worked extremely hard on this plan and I’m sure they are all going to celebrate tonight. Here’s a photo of some of the PBOT staff who worked on the plan taken just after the vote:

L to R: Denver Igarta, Lesley Barewin, Ellen Vanderslice, Roger Geller, Todd Borkowitz, Mark Lear, Sarah Figliozzi, Greg Raisman.

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  • Austin February 11, 2010 at 3:39 pm


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  • Aaron Hayes February 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Great news! Thanks for the update.

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  • Matt Picio February 11, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Wow – Sam comes through! That’s awesome news, and it’s great that the city is doing some progressive things. Kudos to the entire council – good job, folks!

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  • jordan February 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm


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  • Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie February 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I like that it passed 5-0 and that the council is thinking about ways to fund it.

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  • BURR February 11, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    curb extensions suck, ‘green’ or otherwise

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  • Jackattak February 11, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    W00t! Suck it, Boregonian!

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  • Jocelyn February 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm


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  • t.a. barnhart February 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    i hope they use the bioswale money (bioswales are awesome, btw) to make curb extensions that are not bike traps. as they currently are. otherwise, it’s great that Sam found the seed money to back up his commitment to the Plan. it’s a start, and as we see from the health care debacle, simply getting started should never be taken for granted. or dismissed as insufficient. thanks to everyone involved!

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  • KWW February 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    So I am confused, they passed the plan, but not the funding?

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  • Joe Adamski February 11, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    KWW.. the Plan never has had funding included in its acceptance. It is the Master Plan for what we want to see Portland become over the next two decades. While there is a ‘low confidence’ estimate that building it will cost $600M plus, until the funding group will be looking at funding options in the future, presumeably including Saltzmans idea. When other construction projects are considered, the Plan will need to be included. This will prevent the ‘tear up the streets every 3 years’ that sometimes happens. While there is much rejoicing today with the Plans adoption, continuing efforts will need to take place, insuring that funding is found and the Plan moves from plan to reality.
    Still, I’m excited,thankful and pleased that the BMP was passed unanimously. This sends a strong message to Portland that cycling has true standing as a valid form of transportation, not the poor bastard that it sometimes feels.

    The proof will be in the pudding.

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  • John Lascurettes February 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    KWW, to borrow Jonathan’s own earlier analogy:

    This is the business plan, not the venture funding. You have to have the plan before you can seek the funding.

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  • wsbob February 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I’m glad to see Portland’s city council moving forward with its bike plan, and with it, Adams hitting his stride once again. I feel that this kind of effort inevitably helps to encourage bike-ped infrastructure improvements elsewhere across the metro area, such as out here in Beaverton.

    I’m not a fan of those curb extension/neckdowns shown in the picture above, but given that support for them seems to be far less than unanimous, and that they’re expensive to boot, maybe better ideas to spend the money on will come to fore.

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  • Stripes February 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Yay! Now let’s get those new bike boulevard diverters and semi-diverters out there on the GROUND!

    ps – I think Valentines cards might be winging their way to City Council this year from me.

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  • Chris February 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Great coverage! The unnamed staffer’s name is Lesley Barewin.

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  • Stripes February 11, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    ps – the “curb extension” in the photo that you refer to wsbob, is actually a green street water containment feature. they are designed to hold surface water run-off after heavy rain that would otherwise end up as diffused-source pollutant-laden water pouring into the willamette river, causing flooding problems downstream. the curb feature holds the rainwater, and allows it to permeate back into the groundwater. the plants in the curb are specially selected in order to counter eutrophication, so that water returning to the groundwater system is not polluted.

    they are an EXTREMELY CHEAP and EFFECTIVE way to deal with this problem. one tiny little “green curb”, if situated correctly, can deal with stormwater run-off from an enormous swathe of asphalt, such as a parking lot, such as a big road. that’s why you see so many of these around portland. the fact that they also act as an enhanced crossing facility for pedestrians is just happenstance!

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  • Nick V February 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Stripes #16,

    Off topic, but I agree with you for the most part. The only problem is that the City has cut down a huge number of trees in my neighborhood, many of them large and old, to put these curb extensions in which somewhat defeats the “green” purpose.

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  • Chris February 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    The lovely “unknown” lady in the bottom photograph is Lesley Barewin.

    The Bike Master Plan wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for her contributions. Yay Lesley!

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  • Lazy Spinner February 11, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Don’t get too excited just yet! Make certain that $20 million committment actually surfaces. (Seems a bit dubious to me – administrative savings from other projects? Proof?)

    Thank the council members but also let them know if this is all just smoke and mirrors (remember Sam’s big I-405 crossing? The one he bailed on after he got our votes?) then there will be electoral hell to pay.

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  • wsbob February 11, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Stripes…thanks! Seems like I may have misunderstood maus’s writing from the story above; ‘bioswale curb extensions’ and ‘curb extensions’ are two different things?:

    “… The big component of Green Streets that has a bike connection are the bioswale curb extensions (see photo at right).

    Adams’ concept is to work with Saltzman and BES to find money in the BES budget, devote it to the Green Streets program, and then build curb extensions with the money. Curb extensions (also known as “neckdowns”) are a popular and expensive tool in PBOT’s bike boulevard tool kit. …”

    I definitely like the groundwater redistribution aspect of the containment feature. This helps to make its projection out into the street worth putting up with.

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  • Proud of City Council February 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Five Stars for all of City Council!

    Adams – genius!

    Fritz – world changing phrase of the day: I support basic services for all neighborhoods. Walking and bicycling is a basic service.

    Thanks to ALL of Council.

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  • DJ Jazzy S February 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Sweet, I’m gonna go put my dancing shoes on now!

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  • […] to encourage commuters to choose bicycles instead of their cars. See developing details at “Bike plan passes with unanimous support: – BikePortland.org. … var addthis_pub = 'bikemonkey'; var addthis_language = 'en';var addthis_options = […]

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  • kenny February 11, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    This is fab news. Fantastic job, kudos to the Bike Community, concerned citizens that do not bike but “get it”, and City Counsel.

    By chance, was there any response on how the concerns with Sellwood’s infrastructure concerns last week, and the concerns I mentioned about the bike way (sketchy) crossing on 41st and Burnside commuting to Woodstock that I have had many conversations with my neighborhood about? The counsel mentioned they would review these concerns before the final vote.

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  • Steve Durrant February 11, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Good report Jonathan. I’m in St Louis tonight, Omaha yesterday, Des Moines last week and Washington DC tomorrow consulting on bike plans. They all look to Portland for what you’ve just reported on and so many other things we are trying to do right. Right by the voters, kids like Nick’s 6 year old, right by the river, right by so many constituencies. Thank you PBOT and all the many folks that gave so much of their time and talent to this plan. It will be a worthy template for many cities. Thanks Sam and the city council for being bold, positive and creative with implementation.

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  • Ron February 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Anyone have the email addresses for the staffers who put in so much work on this? I would like to send them a note of congratulations!

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  • Ian February 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    MANY MANY MANY congrats to all the hard-working PBOT staff members and steering committee members for bringing this plan into reality and capturing a unanimous vote from city council. This is truly no small feat. Your efforts should be (and will be) celebrated for many years to come!

    As for the Green Streets funding proposal: Many thanks to Mayor Adams for digging out an early funding strategy for the plan. However, I remain a believer that BES and the BMP are actually competitors for the prime real estate — our streets. Curb extensions with bioswales are great on a side-street bike blvd (e.g. SE Ankeny). But the same curb extensions on a commercial corridor (e.g. SE Hawthorne) will prevent the city from creating future cycle tracks. While I applaud the BMP for seeking to create bike infrastructure that touches within a 1/4 mile of all Portland residences, the proximity to peoples destinations must also be addressed. A close look at the model cities admired by our bicycle-friendly planners (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, etc) shows this to be true. Cycling facilities must extend to the front door of shops, restaurants, grocery stores, bars, entertainment venues, etc. In many cases, the BMP will get us close to these destinations. But how long must we be content to use the side street and the back door?

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  • AaronF February 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you Portland!!!

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  • Jim Middaugh February 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Cheers to Austin Ramslamd and the BTA for conceiving and spearheading the Build It campaign. As the city budget unfolds remember what a once-infamous politician said: “Trust but verify.”

    We need investments in green streets and bike boulevards and we should make sure there’s no double counting.

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  • jon February 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    is there not a plan to start by focusing on one prime corridor (say Hawthorne bwtn City Hall and 39th) and make it top notch with fully protected cycle tracks (including building raised islands between the path and parking lanes), amsterdam-style bike traffic lights, and remedy all problem areas like problemmatic bus stops and auto turning lanes? widen the bridge’s sidewalks (make more into multi-use paths for bikes too, like the new morrison path)? design the route to be almost effortless to use and safe for a 5 year old?

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  • Lisa G February 11, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    The new curb extension/bioswale at NE 63rd and Glisan serves the important function of slowing traffic down and causes me to take more of the lane before making a right turn there. It is on a downhill and you can get moving pretty fast on that stretch on a bike, so the act of signaling and slowing works much better with the greater visibilty of taking the lane. Those two functions are a good combination. I had been skeptical at first, but now I actually feel safer there than before the bioswale was constructed. The next step is the crosswalk, signage and a pedestrian island in the middle, with hopefully a ped signal there as well.

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  • David February 12, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see the BES partnership as exclusively curb extension/bioswale-oriented. I could see it extended to include pervious pavers on cycle tracks, bike lanes, and even bike boulevards.

    re jon|30: I would think Broadway from Hollywood to Portland State University would also be a good candidate for that type of treatment.

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  • Red Five February 12, 2010 at 6:19 am

    BURR: I agree with you…I wish they’d stop pouring ugly blocks of concrete in the street for us to ride around.

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  • […] Portland Bike Plan Passes With Unanimous Vote and $20M Budget (Bike Portland) […]

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  • Deep in the Heart of... February 12, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Great news for Portland! I’m excited for you guys. Meanwhile in Austin we’re fighting tooth and nail to get one Bike Blvd created. Maybe it’s time to take a look at job opps in the Northwest. ;)

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  • Lenny Anderson February 12, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Congrats Ellen, Roger and the PBOT Bike Master Plan crew. With this strong Council endorsement, we can hope that PBOT will be less timid than in the past creating & signing space for bicycles.
    Meanwhile, I nominate Ellen to become the new PBOT Director. She has brought innovation, inclusivity, and well hatted intelligence to all the projects she has managed…Russel Streetscape, Chinatown streetscape, traffic management during Mall construction, and now the Bike Master Plan.

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  • Jackattak February 12, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Is it bad of me to find it effing hilarious that there’s not word one of this at the O’s website or on the front page of the paper?

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  • Paul Tay February 12, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I’m eating crow for dinner. But, hey, who needs a bike plan when ya got Biker Fox: The Movie!

    Variety: ENGAGING! Siskel and Eggbert: Two thumbs! Demand it at Bicycle Film Festival.

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  • Jackattak February 12, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Nevermind on my #37 comment. I saw zero word of this on the O when I posted that, and I felt as though I looked pretty darned hard.

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  • […] Illustration by Mark Young/Portland Storyboard – Concept by Jonathan Maus – Related story: Bike Plan passes with unanimous support and a $20 million commitment – See past cartoons […]

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  • Kt February 12, 2010 at 10:09 am

    That’s awesome. I hope the communities around Portland are taking note… we need connected routes not bridges to nowhere!

    Good job, Council and PBOT and everyone who worked on this.

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  • cruiser February 12, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I’m a bit confused about the bioswales – do these indeed make roads safer for cyclists? I find them to a be a nuisance at best and a potential hazard at worst when I encounter them on my bike. Can somebody fill me in?

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  • Joe February 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

    sweeeet news! would love to help get some fokes outta the car :) smell the air look around, enjoy life outside the box.

    safe weekend all,

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  • BURR February 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I’m a bit confused about the bioswales – do these indeed make roads safer for cyclists? I find them to a be a nuisance at best and a potential hazard at worst when I encounter them on my bike. Can somebody fill me in?

    You are of course, completely correct. Despite the claims, they also do precious little to recharge groundwater – the area is too small and the soils are too impermeable – mostly they just provide some filtration and slow the flow down so the storm sewer system isn’t overwhelmed with peak flows after a heavy rain. So much misinformation, so little time….

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  • Clarence Eckerson February 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Way to go Portland. This is just awesome!

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  • spare_wheel February 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I just don’t get the curb extension hate.

    Roundabout are the real enemy, IMO. Those weed infested donuts with rutted pavement canyons, sinkhole crevices, speed-racer drivers, and monster trucks parked flush with the curb must die.

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  • KWW February 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks Joe and John, I know what a Master Plan is, but I didn’t know that the Bicycle plan is a master plan.

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  • […] bikeportland.org, by Jonathan […]

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  • […] Tour of California unveils it’s toughest route yet. Portland passes a new bike plan leading up to the year 2030. Colorado’s 25th Anniversary Ride the Rockies — think of it as an alpine RAGBRAI — kicks of […]

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  • […] Yesterday on the Streetsblog Network, member blog Portlandize published a great post summarizing the economic benefits of better cycling infrastructure. The piece serves as a response to those who might have their doubts about Portland's ambitious new Bicycle Plan for 2030. […]

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  • Streetsblog Los Angeles February 16, 2010 at 8:03 am

    […] Yesterday on the Streetsblog Network, member blog Portlandize published a great post summarizing the economic benefits of better cycling infrastructure. The piece serves as a response to those who might have their doubts about Portland's ambitious new Bicycle Plan for 2030. […]

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  • […] Yesterday on the Streetsblog Network, member blog Portlandize published a great post summarizing the economic benefits of better cycling infrastructure. The piece serves as a response to those who might have their doubts about Portland's ambitious new Bicycle Plan for 2030. […]

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  • […] Bike Portland Post […]

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  • […] it was an especially exciting day to meet the mayor because earlier that afternoon his ambitious 2030 bike plan passed city council with unanimous support.  This is a huge victory for us bicycle minded […]

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  • […] unanimously adopted the Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030. If you missed it, check out some of the blog posts, media reports, and national […]

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  • jim February 25, 2010 at 1:13 am

    So part of my swer bill is going to pay for bike projects? Robbery. Lower the sewer bill and find funding somewhere else.

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  • […] Mayor Sam Adams has released details of his promise to find $20 million to “kickstart” funding of the 2030 Bike Plan. As expected, the money will come from the […]

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