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KATU investigates 'Bike Path to Nowhere' - UPDATED

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 18th, 2010 at 8:18 am

Screen grab from KATU TV newscast.
-Watch video below-

On their 11 o'clock newscast last night, KATU-TV (ABC in Portland) aired a special 'On Your Side' investigation titled, Bike Path to Nowhere. The segment focused on the buffered bike lanes that were installed on SE Holgate back in August. To give you a sense of the angle KATU took with this story, here's the lead-in to the segment (which lasted just over 5 minutes):

"Where does it go and who uses it? A super-wide bikeway in Southeast Portland but at what expense to drivers and businesses? It's an inexpensive part of the City's $600 million bike master plan but more than seven months after the city striped the major east-west route, On Your Side investigator Thom Jensen found hardly anybody uses it. Some people who live and work along it say it's a bike path to nowhere."

They set up a chair and waited
for bike traffic. Hilarious!

Jensen told viewers of the economic hardships the new bike lanes have brought to businesses on SE Holgate.

David Lentz of Lentz Automotive told KATU that the bike lane has cost him business: "See, I bought my property on a 4-lane street because you pay prime price to have a property on a 4-lane highway when you're doing a retail business... I rely on drive-by traffic."

The owner of Pro Hair and Nails said her business had dropped off 1/3 since the lane went in. Her only customer (her salon would be packed without the bike lane) testified that in 30 years of visiting her sister that lives nearby she "hasn't seen more than a dozen" bikes on Holgate.

Even the local mail carrier is peeved about the new lane. It not only "slows his delivery" but he also said it's a "bike lane to nowhere."

This nail salon customer said she
hasn't seen even a dozen bikes
on Holgate in 30 years.

KATU crews then went even further and monitored the bike lanes for a week and reported, "Without exception, we never saw a single bicycle." To validate their experiment on Holgate, KATU reporters also checked out two other bike lanes in further out neighborhoods. On SE Foster and SE 122nd KATU saw more "bikeless boulevards."

KATU also interviewed PBOT bike coordinator Roger Geller who maintained that the lanes are a key connector to local transit stops and said that sometimes it just takes a while before people start to use a new bikeway. A Lents Neighborhood resident also got some airtime to express support for the lanes.

KATU forgot to mention that a traffic analysis was done prior to the installation and it showed that motor vehicle traffic volumes did not necessitate two full lanes. They also didn't mention that the project was requested by the local neighborhood and it cost just $30,000 -- all of which was paid for by TriMet (due to Holgate's connection to the new I-205 MAX light rail station).

Bicycling occupies a strange place in Portland -- somehow it's managed to become simultaneously revered and ridiculed. Is this just a matter of KATU wanting to stir the pot during sweeps month, or is this alleged "bike path to nowhere" truly an important issue that warrants more city-wide discussion?

Watch the segment below and decide for yourself (apologies for quality, I recorded it with my phone - if it goes up on their site, I'll update with cleaner version):

UPDATE: I thought this comment just left by a PBOT staffer was worth highlighting:

"PBoT did a bike count at the end of August, one week after the bike lane on Holgate had gone in. From 4 to 6 PM there were a total of 44 bicyclists passing through the intersection of Holgate/112th. Based on a number of 24-hour hose counts of bicyclists done in Portland, one would project something like 200+ cyclists per day.

As to the question a number of commenters have raised as to what the bike lanes on Holgate actually connect with: they connect with the I-205 path & the Holgate MAX station on the west end, and the bike lanes on 122nd on the east end. There are also at least 4 schools not far off this portion of Holgate. Also, planning is underway for several bicycle boulevards / neighborhood green streets in this area, both intersecting and parallel to Holgate. Yes, the network for cyclists is far from complete. But we're working on it, and you've got to start somewhere."

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Comments
  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 8:31 am

    There's a reason I only watch KGW.

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  • J.R. May 18, 2010 at 8:35 am

    There is a reason I killed my TV.

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  • Let's ride! May 18, 2010 at 8:37 am

    I hereby propose we ride Holgate (meet at 92nd, ride to 122nd), then take Foster back down to 92nd--or some such route, Sunday morning at 9.

    Takers?

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  • Mike Quigley May 18, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Bike lanes INTERFERE with business? How does that work? Are bike lanes crocodile filled moats that must be negotiated in order to gain access to these businesses?

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  • Jacob May 18, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I use the Holgate bike lane nearly every day to get to work, I love it.

    I have yet to see traffic issues caused by the loss of 2 motor vehicle lanes, traffic is always moving freely. My only issue with the lanes is the poor connection to the I205 path.

    Also, I can't grasp the idea that the bike lane would decrease business.

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  • Allan May 18, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Why are they driving down the bike lane for the shot?

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  • 9watts May 18, 2010 at 8:44 am

    "See, I bought my property on a 4-lane street because you pay prime price to have a property on a 4-lane highway when you're doing a retail business... I rely on drive-by traffic."

    That sense of entitlement to car traffic will fade...soon.

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  • Nik May 18, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I saw a promo for this story yesterday evening and just knew by the presentation it would be a anti-bike troll of a spot. I won't bother pointing out the entirely fallacious reasoning behind their implementation of the piece because they are perfectly obvious to readers of this site, and to do so would be to feed the troll.

    On your side, indeed. It's all us vs. them, and if you ride a bicycle in Portland, you're one of "them."

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  • Joe May 18, 2010 at 8:54 am

    thanks CHANNEL 2, nothing like making people more pissed these days for your mindless intertainment. SITTING in the bike lane? come on!

    just like people tell me i ride around with a target in my head. RRRRRR.

    be safe all,
    Joe

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  • eli bishop May 18, 2010 at 8:55 am

    they waited in a bike lane... in the rain? maybe bicyclists in outer se have more sense than that.

    anyway, holgate heading east is one of my favorite stretches: just a whisper of incline to feel like pedaling is almost effortless with Powell Butte rising to meet you. holgate heading west is pretty boring, though, so I take harold.

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  • beelnite May 18, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Yes #6! WE HAVE VISUAL EVIDENCE THAT KATU DROVE THEIR VAN ILLEGALLY!!!!

    Can this be submitted to the PPD?

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  • J.R. May 18, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Wait, wait...still watching their other important breaking news stories like:
    "Man accused of trying to swap baby for beers"
    "Doomsday got you down? Try our luxury bunkers!"
    "Miss USA also a pole-dancing champ"
    "Travolta's dogs killed in airport accident"
    and my favorite leader photo, "Death Penalty for Fags"

    Way to be relevant and informative.

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  • Joe May 18, 2010 at 9:08 am

    driving in the bike lane? WTF! thats one busy road with a bike lane.

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  • Vivian May 18, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Bike lane to nowhere? How about Ron Russel Middle School, a stalwart school of the David Douglas School District? How about Human Solutions, a non-profit organization that offers affordable housing, job training, computer classes, eviction prevention, move-in assistance, and other resources to address poverty and/or homelessness. How about the food carts, local businesses and residential homes in this area?

    The problem isn't the new bike lanes, it's that people still think East Portland is full of junkyards and quick-stop marts.

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  • Vance Longwell May 18, 2010 at 9:13 am

    9watts #7 - It's not entitlement when one pays a "premium" price. Really, at that point, it's a civil right and could very easily play out in court that way. I'd give anything to see the business owners unfairly impacted by this stupid bike-lane sue the living bajeezus out of the City. Why they don't pool resources and do just that is beyond me.

    "They also didn't mention that the project was requested by the local neighborhood..."

    Uh, fact-check. Are you sure the neighborhood called for this bike-lane or was it some neighborhood association that did? The distinction is important because, clearly, you are of the opinion there is sufficient communal will to support this facility. A 'neighborhood' is comprised of vastly larger number of people than a neighborhood association might be. Which is evidence that neighborhood support may have had nothing to do with it. Maybe, in fact, it was only a few very vocal, overly entitled, newcomers who made the demand, and you are simply obfuscating this point to purposely bolster your usual position? Anyway, just as clearly the 'neighborhood' has a problem with this bike-lane as evidenced by the 'neighborhood' complaining their businesses have been impacted negatively.

    By 'neighborhood' then, we must mean the few busy-body wingnuts living in it with nothing better to do than swell the congregation of the Church of Green. Nice try.

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  • Nick V May 18, 2010 at 9:14 am

    @ #1 Jackattak,

    I can't think of specific examples off the top of my head, but KGW has been just as biased against cyclists in the recent past.

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  • Dave Reid May 18, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I'm not from Portland, and don't know the bike lane in question but I wonder if the decline in these people's business has more to do, with ohhh maybe the great recession than the bike lane.

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  • dabby May 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

    It is very illegal to sit in a chair in a bike lane.

    Can we not use the citizens initiative to have that reporter cited for obstruction of a bike lane?

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  • Joe May 18, 2010 at 9:21 am

    #17 yep!

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 9:24 am

    @ Nick V # 16 -

    You might be right but I bet they never drove in a bike lane or sat in one and I can just about guarantee they didn't run any inflammatory news stories.

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  • wsbob May 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

    "...KATU crews then went even further and monitored the bike lanes for a week and reported, "Without exception, we never saw a single bicycle." ..." maus/bikeportland

    Man, that's a long time for anyone to sit on a chair placed on a bike lane... . Got to at least give the guy credit for that.

    But seriously... . Read the KATU news story (link above in maus's story) and it says:

    "...Then he went back and set up a chair in the westerly bike lane and waited. In an eight-hour period he saw only eight bikes on a road where more than 16,000 cars drove daily before two lanes were taken away for bikes. ..."

    So it turns out...he didn't sit in the chair on the bike lane for a week...he just set up the chair in the westerly bike lane and 'waited' there for a week. Sounds fishy. I'd kind of like to know whether the tv station actually staked their reporter out there on that chair for a full 8 hrs, bathroom, coffee and lunch breaks excepted. If they did, and he had his eyes on the bike lane the whole time, the "...only eight bikes..." observation might have more significance.

    In the comments following the KATU story, commenter AFK417 says "I live just off of Holgate and I see quite a few bikes, especially during the afternoon hours. ...".

    Does anyone really know how many bike trips are being made on these bike lanes over an 8 hr or a 24 hr period?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Vance:

    Vance.. i will edit the story to add "association" after n'hood. thanks for pointing that out. I agree it's an important distinction.

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  • Cora Potter May 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I live on Holgate. I love the bike lanes. I would take my bike to that nail salon, or the Takahashi, which is next to that nail salon but they don't offer any bike parking.

    Before the bike lanes were installed, I would frequently have people speeding past my house in excess of 50 mph. Now, the traffic is calmed significantly. There's still just as many cars, they just aren't flying down the street as if it's a "highway" as often.

    And, it isn't a bike lane to nowhere - It's how I access Powell Butte, it's anchored by Lents Park on the other end and it passes by two schools and helps with bike access to Marshall High School and the MAX stop.

    Comparing it to Foster or 122nd is apples to oranges as well. Both of those streets seem unsafe for cyclists because they have four lanes of traffic and the traffic is fast. I think it's also telling that you can see a car partially parked in the bike lane in the shot of 122nd - with it's door hanging wide open.

    The businesses on Holgate are being effected by the recession, not the bike lanes. I don't get my nails done as often, and that's because money is tight, not because of bike lanes. Likewise, I've got a dent in the back of my car, but I'm not getting it repaired because money is tight, not because of bike lanes.

    I'm totally down for a regular ride with folks down Holgate. I'm not a fast rider though - I have a goofy bike that weighs 50lbs - so it would have to be leisurely.

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  • Alexis May 18, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Their inflammatory angle aside, the "bike lane to nowhere" discussion can be a legitimate and serious one. It's what concepts like Complete Streets are supposed to help us avoid -- the piecemeal creation of infrastructure so that each part of it is less useful than the whole could be, if only it were whole. The creation of bike infrastructure has been all about low-hanging fruit, and has disregarded connectivity, for way too long.

    That said, even without great connectivity it's still nice to have (wide, buffered) bike lanes along a stretch of road that didn't have them before. They're useful, and they're a signal that more may come. You can't get everything done at once when you're retrofitting, so sometimes there will be bike lanes to 'nowhere' (although how the businesses can simultaneously claim to be 'nowhere' and to have previously been vital, busy enterprises is a bit beyond me).

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  • Paul May 18, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Nor did car traffic seem anything but light in these shots. Maybe if they removed the sidewalks they would see more business too...yeah.

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  • eli bishop May 18, 2010 at 9:38 am

    also, i wish the bike lane continued the whole stretch of holgate: 136th to mcloughlin. it's a long direct route east to west that parallels powell (which also needs more bike lane west of 92nd, imo).

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  • trail user May 18, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Who's up for a ride around the block a few hundred times around katu? Let's use the bike lane.

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  • bob May 18, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Did KATU bother to read any of the history of this project? They certainly did not report on it.
    http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=50346&a=295402
    states that "The project is funded by a “Jobs Access and Reverse Commute” (JARC) grant administered by TriMet; JARC funds aim to increase connections to jobs and employment centers in the region."
    or
    http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=50350&a=263080
    which states:
    "The Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood associations voted to support the
    conversion of Holgate to a three-lane street with bike lanes."
    "Before the buffered bike lanes were added to SE Holgate over 50 percent of motor
    vehicles exceeded the 35 mph speed limit. Now traffic is moving slower and,
    consequently, more in-line with the safe speed limit."
    or the Lents Neighborhood plan from 1995:
    http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=90929
    which, on page 45, says they wanted to Heavily lobby for an integrated traffic plan accommodating pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles.
    Whether we like it or not, neighborhood associations do influence city policy no matter if you have been involved in one for 6 months or 60 years.
    Has the auto traffic volume or speed changed or become densely problematic? And how is it that the postal delivery person in the KATU video claims it has made his job more difficult? Is it due to lower speed limits or having to watch for people on bikes? Also, I only get my nails done for special occasions because it is a luxury service, many of which I have cut back on in recent years due to the overall economic scene. I am not unsympathetic to Mr Lentz' decline in business but he did choose to base it on drive by motor traffic and the combination of ever evolving infrastructure and his customers' decisions to drive less are not within his control. That's business.

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  • Bob May 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

    #24 Alexis is right -- there may be a legitimate story about the Holgate bike lane: Where does it lead to? The MAX Green Line? Is that it? If there aren't good connections, the re-striping IS a waste of resources, and we as cyclists ought to be upset about that.

    It looks like the Holgate lane is a typical PDOT project that's easy to put in and show off, but doesn't serve a larger purpose. It contributes to Portland's shortsighted bike planning system that adds lanes where they're easy, not where they're needed.

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  • Vance Longwell May 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

    J #22 - Yeah, thanks. Didn't mean to be such an ass about it. It's a little frustrating. I mean, here we have the concerns of members from that neighborhood possibly being silenced by the invocation of neighborhood concerns.

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  • Daniel Ronan May 18, 2010 at 10:01 am

    That was really nice of that guy to push the biker out into traffic. Thanks KATU, for endangering the most vulnerable road users among us.

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  • Greg Haun May 18, 2010 at 10:04 am

    What a coincidence. I just 'discovered' Holgate a few weeks ago and decided to make it my preferred exercise route. Why? Its a long, fast, safe stretch of route that nobody much uses, yet. I too was struck by how few cyclists there were, compared for instance to the same stretch of Powell. After the Springwater is re-paved this summer it will make a great loop.

    Cover up your spandex with some Dickies and come out here and ride. Nothing gets people on their bikes like other people on bikes.

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  • Joe May 18, 2010 at 10:05 am

    drive less save more :)

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  • Cora Potter May 18, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Yep - maybe if more people biked to MAX instead of driving they'd have more money to spend at nail salons!

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  • Paulie May 18, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Funny, I rode that bike lane on Sunday. I didn't see any other bikes at the time, but I also didn't see many cars. The bike lane doesn't seem to cause any traffic problems that I can see, though I haven't ridden, or driven, it during rush hour.

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  • becky May 18, 2010 at 10:26 am

    so, who's leading the sushi 'n' tempura ride to Takahashi during Pedalpalooza? The restaurant has a big back room that could maybe be reserved for a group!

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  • Dave2 May 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Channel 2 has become a "Fox Lite" right wing station as has their ABC network. They have joined the brigade of media howler monkeys who consider any public money that is spent on mass transit or bike/ped projects as wasted. They're making a serious play for the Battle Ground residing, F250-driving knucklehead audience. Before you censor my comments, Jonathan, I live here (Clark County) and know what I'm talking about.

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  • IanO May 18, 2010 at 11:15 am

    @Becky: Me me me!!!

    I'm a big fan of sushi, esp. Takahashi 2 near PSU. What a great excuse to explore this new bike path!

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  • jim May 18, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Only in Portland do we have morons making bikepaths to nowhere. This is a pathetic waste of money and resources. No wonder the shop owners are peaved.

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  • KWW May 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

    "153.058 Initiation of violation proceeding by private party. (1) A person other than an enforcement officer may commence a violation proceeding by filing a complaint with a court that has jurisdiction over the alleged violation. The filing of the complaint is subject to ORS 153.048. The complaint shall be entered by the court in the court record."

    I saw the report by chance, what a joke. And seriously, lets teach this 'journalist' a lesson and issue a citizen's traffic citation and force katu to show up on court, for driving in the bike lane, and blocking the bike lane.

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2010/03/a_citizens_traffic_ticket_in_f.html

    http://www.stc-law.com/articles_8.html

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  • Hart May 18, 2010 at 11:34 am

    If they want a four lane highway let them paint their nails on Powell. Good grief.

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  • MIndfulCyclist May 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I really do wonder how much Lentz's business has struggled due to the Cash for Clunkers program. So many people went out and bought new cars that do not need the repairs (and the old ones were destroyed). And, when the cars do need repairs, the owners take them to the dealership so the warranty is not voided. That along with the new MAX line that give people in the neighborhood a new transportation option. Less driving=fewer repairs.

    It is very difficult for me to believe that a buffered bike lane is such a big reason business is down. There are too many bike lanes in this town for driver to be that ignorant.

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  • matt picio May 18, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Apparently it's not the lousy economy which is decreasing business on Holgate, but the bike lanes. Who'da thunk?

    Allan (#6) - Because apparently KATU news drivers are exempt from ORS. Someone should file a citizen's initiated ticket and use that footage as evidence.

    Vance (#15) - Uh, right - apply the same logic to your own argument. It's just as likely that the majority of the neighborhood just doesn't care, and the vocal minority in this report (and the neighborhood) is roughly equal to the vocal minority in the NA. The fact is, we have no idea how much support or opposition the bike lanes had, and while you're right to point out the difference between the NA and the neighborhood (thank you for making that distinction), there's not a lot of conclusions that can be accurately drawn without more info.

    I would also argue that since the neighborhood can participate in the NA at any time, if they don't care enough to go to the meetings and raise a stink, they deserve what they get. The NA system is well-established in Portland.

    wsbob (#21) - and for a facility that sees "no" use, there were a lot of bikes visible in that piece.

    Also, how many cars drive it now? And is the reduction due to the overall decline in VMT? KATU of course does not mention that.

    Bob (#29) "If there aren't good connections, the re-striping IS a waste of resources". No sir, it's only a waste if the city has no intent to MAKE good connections. Because of the nature of funding, these projects are often built piecemeal, as funding permits, and the existance of a partial network sometimes helps get adjacent infrastructure funded.

    An argument can be made against infrastructure on general principle (as Vance and others have done many times), but your logic on being a waste of resources based on a lack of current connections is faulty.

    jim (#39) - How would you explain the "morons" who made all the freeway ramps to nowhere on the bridges? Bought properties in SE for projects that were never built? The shop owners are peaved because business sucks, and they're looking for anything external to pin it on. The real reason their business sucks is because they're in low-density outer SE in a lousy economy in which people are driving less. They have almost no transit access and very little bike/ped amenities, so there is no reason or opportunity for non-car users to go there. If there was MORE transit in that area, and SIDEWALKS in the neighborhoods, they might see more business.

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  • Tony Columbo May 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Total waste of money. It doesn’t matter where it came from or what color. The neighborhood association voted for it however the neighborhoods residents were against it. I’m sure more citizens wish now they had signed the recall.

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  • Cora Potter May 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Re: connections, the SE 101st and SE Bush St Bike Boulevards are currently in the planning stages. Also, the Holgate Bike Lanes connect up with the I205 MUP at 94th and with the Bike Lanes on 122nd.

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  • Jeff S May 18, 2010 at 11:53 am

    wsbob #21: "Does anyone really know how many bike trips are being made on these bike lanes over an 8 hr or a 24 hr period?"

    PBoT did a bike count at the end of August, one week after the bike lane on Holgate had gone in. From 4 to 6 PM there were a total of 44 bicyclists passing through the intersection of Holgate/112th. Based on a number of 24-hour hose counts of bicyclists done in Portland, one would project something like 200+ cyclists per day.

    As to the question a number of commenters have raised as to what the bike lanes on Holgate actually connect with: they connect with the I-205 path & the Holgate MAX station on the west end, and the bike lanes on 122nd on the east end. There are also at least 4 schools not far off this portion of Holgate. Also, planning is underway for several bicycle boulevards / neighborhood green streets in this area, both intersecting and parallel to Holgate. Yes, the network for cyclists is far from complete. But we're working on it, and you've got to start somewhere.

    Jeff Smith / PBoT

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  • Hart May 18, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Somebody show this to autoshop guy and nail salor lady:

    http://www.streetfilms.org/people-parklets-and-pavement-to-parks/#comments

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  • Andrew May 18, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Shoot, I wish I had known. I would have ridden straight through that guy and then sued the hell outta him and KATU.

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  • Andrew May 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    The neighborhood association voted for it however the neighborhoods residents were against it.

    This is a contradictory statement. If the "neighborhoods residents" were against it, they should have displayed that to the other "neighborhoods residents" that comprise the neighborhood association. Apathy sucks, doesn't it?

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  • MIndfulCyclist May 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Tony Columbo (#44): This bike lane did not just appear a month ago. Two recalls have failed since this has been installed. So, I am not sure what the recall has to do with anything in this thread.

    And, people need to show up to NA meetings if they want to express disagreement with it. As Matt Picio pointed out, they get what they deserve if they don't.

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Hi JeffS #46 -

    Did KATU try to contact you for this inflammatory news piece in an attempt to glean the information you just easily gave all of us here?

    Something tells me your answer will be "no", in which case I'll be hardly surprised.

    :)

    Thanks so much for letting us know that information, Jeff. That spells it all out. The bike path certainly leads to somewhere because A LOT of cyclists are using it.

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  • Joe May 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    well written article jonathan.

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  • Jeff S May 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Jackattak - the reporter spoke with Roger Geller, PBoT bike coordinator, at some length.

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  • Todd Boulanger May 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I enjoyed watching the CH2 segment - I give them some credit in visiting the site frequently and talking to pro and con viewpoints.

    They likely did arrive with a viewpoint before their investigation...more interest...I think they could have spent a little more time collecting (or reporting) on actual change in traffic volumes for cars on this corridor in addition to bikes...I would find it hard to think that 30% to 50% of the traffic disappeared due to the project as some of the business owners assumed...at best road diets may initially reduce 10% of the traffic volumes...their businesses were more likely victims of the great resession.

    One the of the great selling points of this type of project is that many of the safety benefits accrue to drivers (better visibility/ less lane switching or speeding), less sideswiped parked cars (and their drivers when they open their car doors), etc. That whole angle was either missed, avoided, or edited out.

    Additionally for businesses...they now have better visibility from the street for clients and it is easier to turn into or exit a driveway when only dealing with a single lane of traffic - I assume the turn lane was already there.

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    @ JeffS # 53 -

    That's incredible. So they purposefully omitted the information?

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  • Spiffy May 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    reposting my comment from katu...

    I've lived a block off Holgate for about 5 years and even before the bike lane went in I saw more than 12 bikes on that street. Sounds like Darlene Zak isn't paying attention when she drives.

    I always wondered if Lentz Automotive was a cover for a drug lab or something. That place is so ghetto. I'm VERY glad there is an extra lane out in front of their business. They so rudely parked on the sidewalk and sticking out into the street all the time that it constantly inconvenienced us to walk around their vehicles. Now we have a safer place to walk when we're forced off the sidewalk by this inconsiderate business.

    And about Pro Hair and Nails losing business? You think it might have something to do with the economy? Or maybe the ghetto strip mall you're in? If the Takahashi wasn't there they would have condemned that entire strip mall and tore it down. Those places look so sketchy I don't like to even get off the sidewalk near them.

    And the mail carrier seems to think they took away 4 lanes.

    It just seems that they found the stupidest people to interview for this thing. Why didn't they interview the businesses that are doing well? Is it because Takahashi is the only one in the last decade to keep steady business? Or because there are only about 8 businesses on that 20 block stretch?

    And they went out on a rainy day to count bikes? I'm not sure when they were out there but I commuted down Holgate 3 of the 5 days last week. And I see bikes there every day.

    Holgate was so bad for bicycles that everybody found another route to take and haven't migrated to using Holgate again. I even avoided it for the first month because habitual drivers kept driving in the bike lane.

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  • Cora Potter May 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I'd like to encourage everyone who uses the Holgate bike lanes, or just likes them to contact Jeff Smith and get added to the list for an upcoming meeting he's planning. We need to be there in numbers to ensure that the people complaining about the lanes are aware that they do not represent or define the prevailing sentiment/opinion.

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  • Tony Columbo May 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    That stupid mayor Sam Adams will be building more "bike lanes to no where" robbing from the water bureau. I bet more and more people are shaking their heads wishing they had signed the recall.

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  • El Biciclero May 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I rode through an unfinished subdivision the other day--it was criss-crossed with huge streets to nowhere. Like, literally nowhere; most of them ended in cul-de-sacs. The whole time I was there, I saw zero cars driving on these streets. What a waste of money! Why on earth do we waste money building roads that nobody drives on???

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  • Joe May 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    #56 lol sooo true!

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  • Michael Dawson May 18, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    The bias and stupidity of this is off the charts, even by the "standards" of local "news."

    Let's remember this is commercial TV. What industry has always been the #1 sponsor of that industry, especially at the local level?

    I expect more of suck flak, as the oil squeeze tightens and the powers that be get more desperate.

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  • h May 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Maybe Lentz should change his business to bike shop. It would attract potential non-bikers and bikers.

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  • Roland May 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks KATU, this stuff is fun. Anyway, what time's the real news, you know, for grown-ups? What's that you say?

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  • Memo May 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    he he, I actually stumbled on this wonderful stretch of Holgate this weekend and loved it. Just wish they continued some type of bike lane about a block further east for those of us wanting to go to Powell Butte.

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  • Craig Giffen May 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Ah, that is what it was. They were airing promos for this on 94.7 yesterday. I was somewhat cringing at the fact that the PSAs might air next to your Spring Cycle promos.

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  • R-doodly May 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I'm sick of "bicycles" being scapegoated for every problem out there. Hey crybabies, you might find it a bit more empowering if you take some responsibility and look at your own dumb outdated business model. Nobody wants to buy your stupid product or service in that stupid location. Look around, you think all those "for sale" signs and "foreclosed" signs out there indicate a thriving business climate for ya?

    This is America, the land of opportunity you like to prattle on about, the one where people pull themselves up by their boot-straps, use some of that good old American ingenuity and gumption, and try meeting an actual need, try creating something of actual value to people. How's that again? You say you could use a little help from the government? Fine, but I guess that means you'll also stop shit-talking things like welfare and Medicare too, RIGHT? Since it's the same thing.

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  • Andrew May 18, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I'm boycotting the jerks, starting now. I don't have TV and can easily get any actual news they might somehow decide to cover in the distant future from the websites of KGW and KOIN.

    Really not that big of a deal or change of behavior for me, but it'll keep advertising dollars from funding this garbage. KATU: Portland's Arizona.

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  • KWW May 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Of course if they were taking out the bike lanes, there would be cries afoul that Portland only puts bike infrastructure in rich neighborhoods.

    Instead ignorant people are interviewed on TV.

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  • mike May 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I love the folks that they did film "commuting" in the bike lane. Wonder where they were commuting to. A tavern perhaps.

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  • Ken May 18, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Vance #15,
    I agree that there is a distinction between neighborhood and neighborhood association, but neighborhood associations were created as a body to represent the neighborhood’s interests to the City. Most city bureaus want to know where the NA stands on issues because the NA is the designated representative. So Jonathan wasn’t really wrong.

    There can be a perceived disconnect where people believe that an NA doesn’t reflect the opinions of residents of a neighborhood. The reason for this is usually because people are not involved in their NA or just doesn’t pay attention to what is going on. This happens all the time with neighborhood issues, whether it’s a baseball stadium in Lents or a Portland Loo in the Pearl.

    But as far as the City is concerned, the NA represents the interest of the neighborhood.

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  • Andrew May 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    And for the uninitiated, I posted that boycott line simply to send the Jack Bog crowd up a wall.

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  • Frank May 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I can't count the number of times I've been left with no other choice but to change auto mechanics because the city has altered traffic striping.

    But seriously... so now that this street is no longer as desirable of a highway (er, residential street) to him with a chronic speeding problem, his business model is hurting? And he parks his business vehicles on the sidewalk apparently. Nice.

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  • ecohuman May 18, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Let's see if I can sum up all of the comment thus far:

    (1) TV is stupid.
    (2) Anybody that doesn't like the bike lane is "stupid", "biased", "ghetto", and "uninformed".
    (3) If PBOT does a bike count and a TV station does a bike count, regardless of the method, PBOT is always right.
    (4) I focused on criticizing the TV story title ("bike lane to nowhere?"), and not the content of the story.
    (5) If local businesses depend on auto traffic to survive, they deserve to die out.
    (6) 44 bikes require a similar amount of roadway to 18,600 cars.
    (7) Anything posted by Jack Bog is worthy of hate.
    (8) As long as I see somebody else being hateful, I can too.

    I could go on, I suppose. Mostly, I'm surprised by the irony of the vitriolic narrow-mindedness I see repeatedly here in comments. The story contained real people with real problems, and with real complaints. The real story is--you don't actually care, because it's not you. Yet it's small businesses like this that pay property and other taxes that help pay for those bike lanes you've got the luxury of criticizing. As they die out, so do the taxes.

    And as those taxes continue to come up short, guess what those roads we depend on for bicycling are going to look like?

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Looks like it worked, Andrew! (Like a charm, apparently...took all of 22 minutes.)

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    ecohuman,

    the people leaving comments here are also "real people" with "real problems" are they not?

    And what is there to care about? Sure I sympathize with small business owners who see a drop-off in business.. But tying that drop-off to a bike lane is ridiculous and unfounded... I care about business owners but I also care about people trying to cross that street with cars going 40-50mph and people who are sitting on their couch because riding a bike next to that traffic seems unsafe.

    KATU could have picked any number of scapegoats but because they know biking has a lot of fans and gets attention in this town they chose to focus on it.

    And why do you assume that people riding in those bike lanes don't pay property and other taxes? just curious.

    Besides, who decided the primary goal of our city is to promote business? I think making sure Mr. Lentz can make a living is no more important than making sure we continue to find ways to allow people to move around that are healthy and affordable.

    Try not to fall into the dichotomy local news segments like this falsely create. This isn't us and them... we're all the same... just people trying to move around the city, run businesses, and so on.

    Creating divisions between people and playing to our innate need to blame others is simply irresponsible and it hurts everyone in this city, yet it happens again and again and again from these tv stations.

    calling them out might be exactly what they want... but at least we can hopefully educate some people in the process that those are far from "bike lanes to nowhere".. what leads us nowhere is when people get angry and put up walls without having an open and informed discussion about the issues (which is what the media's role should be).

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  • Stochelo May 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I used to live in SE and use Holgate often. It's got very wide travel lanes with a lot of room to ride without impeding cars--why do they have to stripe bike lanes in places like that?
    The city is acting like they deliberately want to provoke the velophobes.

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  • Andrew May 18, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for posting that last comment, Jonathan.

    You're dead on. The false dichotomies of this story are ridiculous and unfounded.

    There's a bike lane down my street, and there are a whole bunch of vacant businesses. Are they connected? I'm sorry, but they just aren't. In fact, one business thrives: a pub with a mediocre happy hour that constantly has bikes parked out front. Could we link that to the spacious bike lane? Probably.

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  • ecohuman May 18, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    the people leaving comments here are also "real people" with "real problems" are they not?

    Sure they are. But the comments here are largely not about the commenters problems--they're about the story.

    And what is there to care about? Sure I sympathize with small business owners who see a drop-off in business.. But tying that drop-off to a bike lane is ridiculous and unfounded

    Thank you. You've just made my point, again. It took only a few sentence to get to the part where you dismiss *their* conclusions as "ridiculous and unfounded". Despite not really having any proof to the contrary.

    And why do you assume that people riding in those bike lanes don't pay property and other taxes? just curious.

    I don't assume that, and didn't even imply it. But if you're really that unaware where the tax base that props up the city comes from, it'd take too long to explain it in a blog comment.

    Besides, who decided the primary goal of our city is to promote business?

    "Promoting business" is in fact one of the key goals of Mayor Adams, and implicit in a signifcant number of City Council resolutions and issues under discussion. Promoting small business really means "supporting" small business. The truth is, business is why urban development is done the way it is. You (and commenters) have repeatedly pointed out how you want bike lanes so you can commute between businesses--to shop, and to work.

    This isn't us and them... we're all the same... just people trying to move around the city, run businesses, and so on.

    Except that you think some of them, when trying to explain what's happening to their businesses, are "ridiculous and unfounded". And that's one of the kinder comments here about them.

    Creating divisions between people and playing to our innate need to blame others is simply irresponsible and it hurts everyone in this city, yet it happens again and again and again from these tv stations.

    I find that profoundly ironic, given the tone of the comments I've seen on this topic (that you've not responded to in this way) and the general stance of your blog that presents an "us vs. them" mentality often (and often explicitly).

    but at least we can hopefully educate some people in the process

    Jonathan, does the arrogance implied in that statement and others here get lost on you? What possible knowledge makes you feel that the solution is you educating people like these folks? Do you really think you're the one with the knowledge that needs "teaching"? Or is is possible there's something to learn from them?

    what leads us nowhere is when people get angry and put up walls without having an open and informed discussion about the issues (which is what the media's role should be)

    Then I'll assume you don't consider yourself part of media. Because instantly dismissing these folk's conclusions as "ridiculous and misinformed" sure sounds like putting up walls and not doing any kind of discussion of issues.

    And really, let's be honest here--the tone of your post (and much ofthe commentary here, too) was about as slanted and arrogant as it could be without resorting to profanity.

    I honestly don't think you're writing this way intentionally. You obviously feel passionately about bicycles. But I'm guessing that when somebody tells you your conclusions about bikes is "ridiculous and misinformed", you aren't likely to sit and "be educated" by the person that said it.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2010 at 8:27 pm

      hi again ecohuman.

      you wrote:

      You've just made my point, again. It took only a few sentence to get to the part where you dismiss *their* conclusions as "ridiculous and unfounded"

      actually, this is directed at KATU more than the people. I'm not "dismissing" anyone's conclusions... but I know first-hand how TV reporters ask leading questions and it's clear their intentions were to show that the bike lane caused the business decline.. which yes, i do believe is a ridiculous conclusion to make.

      "Promoting business" is in fact one of the key goals of Mayor Adams...,

      sure, that's great. business is important... but too often it's propped as THE #1 priority that all other decisions should be based on. And I completely disagree with that.

      you think some of them, when trying to explain what's happening to their businesses, are "ridiculous and unfounded"

      you're connecting words to me unfairly. I do not think these business owners' explanations are ridiculous and unfounded... I think KATU doing a "special report" on this is ridiculous and unfounded... I realize i didn't make that distinction clear initially.

      as for the this blog promoting an us vs. them mentality. i completely disagree. you can disagree with how i moderate comments and I admit it's something i don't do perfectly (it's much more complicated that you might think). But, i do not agree that this site promotes us vs. them. Yes I am passionate about wanting more people to understand how bicycling can benefit our city and i want more people to do it, but I challenge you to find anything I've written that willfully creates divisions between people (and yes I write editorials sometimes that are opinionated but that's not the same thing at all).

      instantly dismissing these folk's conclusions as "ridiculous and misinformed" sure sounds like putting up walls and not doing any kind of discussion of issues.

      really? seems to me like these 80 comments and our back and forth are a discussion. I highlighted their comments here and did not express my opinion about them in the story and i actively encouraged the community to discuss those comments and the KATU story itself. Do you honestly believe that my story is done with the same sensationalizing, dichotomy-creating intent as the initial KATU story?

      the tone of your post (and much ofthe commentary here, too) was about as slanted and arrogant ...

      i completely disagree with that. given the tone of your comments in the past few months, you seem to come to this site with an opinion about me already formed and you see things through that lens.

      ....I'm guessing that when somebody tells you your conclusions about bikes is "ridiculous and misinformed", you aren't likely to sit and "be educated" by the person that said it.

      that couldn't be further from the truth. first, all my "conclusions" are open to being changed. i'm very open-minded about bike issues and if someone can present a thoughtful argument i'm always open to not only hearing it but taking it in and letting it form my opinion. i've been doing this too long to think I'm above being educated by anyone.

      I've been in this situation before... i've talked to all sorts of anti-bike naysayers in my many years doing advocacy... and i can't remember anyone who i wasn't able to have a constructive and friendly discussion with once all the a sensationalism and divisiveness was out of the picture (meaning once we met face to face and neither side relied on soundbytes in forming their opinions of the other).

      I'd love to talk face-to-face with Mr. Lentz. My hunch is he and i would have a nice chat and that we'd both learn something from each other. perhaps i'll pay him a visit.

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  • wsbob May 18, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Jeff S #46...thanks for the stats indicating bike trips on Holgate post bike lane installation. I seem to recall you also providing other statistics in the past when I've encouraged people to offer them if they had any. That information helps.

    It figures that there would be more people using the bike lane during commute hours, than in off-commute hours. Averaging out at 200 trips for a 24 hr period seems like it may be a reasonable number.

    For example, related to a street out here in Beaverton, about which there was some question regarding how much use it received by people riding bikes, a resident said to me "We don't get many bikes on this street.". I have a feeling what a statement like that is based on though, is...if the resident doesn't see a bunch of bikes on the street when they run out to get the mail...mow the lawn...back out of the driveway....to them it means...."We don't get many bikes on this street.".

    When in reality...there may be many more bikes using the street than casual observation reveals. It's not like people on bikes with places to go are hanging around, calling out 'Hey! You did see me...didn't you?!'.

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  • suburban May 18, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I've been riding and driving for years, and noticed every road leads from one nowhere to another nowhere. There are every were these days.

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  • bikieboy May 18, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    interesting to me is that one implication of the story title "Bike Path to Nowhere" is that KATU views outer east Portland as Nowhere.

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  • Peter Smith May 18, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    i thought it was funny how they kept saying 'extra wide bike lanes'. that's something we should teach the reporter folks about, b/c subjective safety is very different from actual safety. the buffer allows folks to feel safe, so they'll ride - so the bike lane is not 'extra wide' -- it's the same size it usually is, but it has a recommended buffer.

    the business owners don't know what's going on -- they're struggling w/ the economy -- if the economy was booming and new bike lanes had just gone in and tv reporters approached them with the leading question, "how much is your business up?", the business owners would be like, "one-third!".

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  • bikieboy May 18, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Jonathan, your statement "Bicycling occupies a strange place in Portland -- somehow it's managed to become simultaneously revered and ridiculed."
    is IMO absolutely the best one sentence summation of the state of cycling in Portland at the moment. Also a nice bit of writing, with those resonating R's...

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  • Spencer Boomhower May 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    The claim seems to be that the presence of the cycletrack - and NOT the recession - is the cause for the downturn in these businesses. But I don't see how that is supposed to work. How does this cycletrack interfere with those businesses?

    Is the cycletrack causing congestion? That would be the hardship I would most expect to result from the loss of an auto lane. But in this one report at least, I didn't see much in the way of auto congestion. The closest they came to it was towards the end, in long shot taken with a telephoto lens. (That, BTW, is the kind of shot you use if you want to make a spread-out line of objects look clumped together, which seems to have been the intent in this case.) There were about six or seven cars and a bus in that shot.

    Is the cycletrack causing less traffic to drive down this road? Could be, but they offer no facts to back this up. They did say that 16,000 cars daily used this road before the lanes were taken away, but they don't say how many use it now. So that number is meaningless.

    (As an aside, IF there are fewer cars driving down that road now, I can see how the businesses might not like that, but I can also see how the homeowners in the area might like it - a whole lot. Did anyone ask them?)

    Is the cycletrack blocking any of these businesses? It seems not to be. You can drive right across it. (Or in it, as the news van demonstrated.)

    Did the installation of the cycletrack displace parking? It seems not to have; the parking spots to the right of the cycletrack looked like they'd always been there. And they looked just as empty as the car lanes.

    The claim is that the cycletrack is causing these businesses to fail, but there are no facts presented in this report to support that claim.

    If the claim doesn't stand up, the only other reason for running this is to get people riled up, for the purpose of getting attention. Attention, after all, equals ratings.

    A story meant only to get attention doesn't need the benefit of facts to do its job; in that regard, it might even benefit from a lack of facts.

    Am I just stating the obvious here?

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  • She May 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    How do those businesses feel about being called "nowhere"? That is essentially what this piece did, call the businesses and the neighborhoods there "nowhere". Absolutely absurd "reporting"!

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  • ecohuman May 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Jonathan wrote:
    actually, this is directed at KATU more than the people.

    Earlier, Jonathan wrote:
    Sure I sympathize with small business owners who see a drop-off in business.. But tying that drop-off to a bike lane is ridiculous and unfounded...

    Nice try, Jonathan. You were talking about the business owners.

    i completely disagree with that. given the tone of your comments in the past few months, you seem to come to this site with an opinion about me already formed and you see things through that lens.

    What tone, exactly, were you aiming for when you said about the business owners "But tying that drop-off to a bike lane is ridiculous and unfounded"?

    Own your words. A casual search of your blog has you routinely making anybody critical of bicycles/bicycle paths/bicycle spending out to be "them".

    i'm always open to not only hearing it but taking it in and letting it form my opinion

    Oh? So tell me then, Jonathan--why did you write the post about KATU? Because you had watched the video, took in the opinions of the business owners, then "formed your opinion"? Are you writing that with a straight face?

    And more illustrative still:

    i've talked to all sorts of anti-bike naysayers in my many years doing advocacy

    Ahh. There we have it, again. The "us" vs. "them" mentality that you vociferously denounce, claim not to have--but repeatedly use even in a single response. Critics are "naysayers". You are an "advocate". Not much room there for discussion, is there?

    But let's simplify. You wrote:
    Try not to fall into the dichotomy local news segments like this falsely create.

    Ironic, because that's EXACTLY what you're doing. Not me...you. I don't care what the TV station thinks, really. And you're practiced enough to know the value of a provocative headline--you use them all the time.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    ok ecohuman, i think i've reached the point of diminishing returns on being able to effectively communicate with you via these comments.

    you can read my words and slice/dice them any way you want. i still disagree with the picture you are painting of me but that's fine. if you are committed to being critical of me and trying to paint me as something i simply am not than so be it.

    you say I promote us vs. them. i say i don't.

    i'll re-read your criticisms of me a few times to let it sink in and i appreciate your feedback and input. i'll try to be more conscious and sensitive to these things you've pointed out in the future.

    thanks.

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  • joe adamski May 18, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    One of the biggest challenges to providing safe facilities to the former East County section of Portland is trying to deal with a part of town that was built with the car in mind. Until the 1950s, most of the area was in farm use. The GI bill home loan opened up a suburban development area, complete with car-centric design. Now the City is trying to take an area that is unlike most of Portland, and try to provide the level of facilities the rest of the City has. It is too easy to criticize the efforts on Holgate. I personally don't see much value there. But I believe they HAD to put the lanes on Holgate most of the area near Holgate lacks sufficient paved streets and through corridors. East-West connections are horrible out there. Anything north of Holgate puts a cyclist in the midst of high volume,high capacity roadway.
    The City could plow the entire budget projected for the 2030 Bike Master Plan into outer Southeast and still not have a complete project,because there are so many obstacles to non-automotive transport. At the same time, this is where the forces of gentrification have relocated much of North and Northeast.And many of these folks are not well served by transit and have the largest percentage of their budgets going to transportation costs.
    My biggest concern is that the folks who most need safe faciliities will listen to KATU 'news" and reason that there is not benefit for them and resist other efforts.

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  • eli bishop May 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    (Stochelo: I would have thought so too until two cars running neck and neck in the car lanes squeezed me against a parked car to my right. very scary. not long after that the bike lane came and I was so relieved to know that wouldn't happen again.)

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  • 9watts May 19, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Thanks Jonathan for calling our attention to this sort of ridiculous 'news' I also appreciate the many thoughtful perspectives that appear in these comments. Lots of new and often funny ways of looking at or thinking about these issues. Spencer #84 said it well.

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  • CommanderZ May 19, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Good reporting by Jonathan overall, and an astute and profound note that cycling is both revered and reviled in Portland right now. KATU and the other TV stations are almost always going to take an inflammatory stance on most stories. That's what they do, whether they believe it or not. The bike lane on Holgate is a hot button, and an attention-getting story because it is a symbol for a large and growing contempt for cyclists by average and normal people in Portland, many of whom drive cars. Before you start typing a response, yes, cyclists are average and normal people too. Many local business people and citizens see resources being diverted by the City to support cycling. At present, the number of regular cyclists in Portland represents a small fraction compared to the number of people that travel by car, bus or light rail. Of course there is resentment. There is also the perception (some of it true, some of it not) that a good portion of the cyclists in Portland are recent transplants from other states. If you lived here all your life, worked hard to get an education, get a job, buy a house and/or start a business you would have a problem with people shooting through your neighborhood, carving up parking, and telling you that you are "stupid" if you don't like it. That's no formula for winning friends and influencing people. It's not about "stupid" or smart. It's about your reference point. I am a cyclist. I also drive a car. I like bike lanes and dedicated bike streets, but I also would like cyclists to be respectful of pedestrians and of the neighborhoods they ride through, whether they are blue collar areas or tree lined and affluent neighborhoods. Arrogance, aggression and elitism will only further fuel backlash and confrontation.

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  • david....no! the other one May 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I originally read about the "new" bike lane in the oregonian. I had to see it for myself. Yes it did take up TWO traffic lanes, with buffers incluced.
    When I drove a car to travel the bike lane length, two cars choose to drive in them in different locations. My thinking at the time was this will never work for bicycles.
    In the seventys I used to drive this section of road to get to work and I did drive well in excess of the legal limit. Maybe that is what people are worried about, they do not feel safe with bicycles so close to their cars.
    What I thought was very funny in the ch2 report was all the empty parking spots. No one was using them, should the city remove them? just wondering haha.

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