Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 10th, 2010 at 9:32 am
[The following article was written by new executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Rob Sadowsky.]
"To make a significant dent in bicycling mode share in Portland...we need to take significant steps to limiting the convenience of driving a car."
I was excited to read the various 'Big Ideas' submitted to BikePortland, even my favorite -- the giant slide down Mt. Hood. To make a significant dent in bicycling mode share in Portland, and in the region, we need not only big bold infrastructure ideas, but we need to take significant steps to limiting the convenience of driving a car.
There are many reasons why Copenhagen has made such great strides in reducing car travel and increasing use of bicycling, walking and transit. They have developed wonderful facilities for active transportation. However, that wasn’t enough. They went the extra step and directly went after the convenience of driving.
Not convenient for driving; but a
great place to live and bike.
Imagine the neighborhood where you wake up in the morning in a bit of a rush. You think about the choices you have to get to work and realize that the only way to make your meeting in time is to bicycle. You know that if you get in your car, you’ll have to go the long way around the neighborhood to get out and your parking options downtown are limited and very expensive. If you bicycle, you’ll be able to park right in front of the office or perhaps you’re one of the growing workers who have indoor parking inside your office.
Residents of the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood in Southeast Portland already know that a helter-skelter street design doesn’t make the neighborhood less attractive, it does the opposite. Folks crave the opportunity to move in. Property values are consistently higher than surrounding neighborhoods.
We don’t need to redesign all of our streets to go diagonally to make this happen. We just need to develop significant traffic calming tools and divert traffic toward major arteries. We can change the traffic timing of our lights to make bicycling faster than cars. We can add congestion pricing and parking to our already congested areas. Plus, we need to take fees earned off congestion pricing and reinvest it in neighborhood design and transit options for all.
Of course this will take a great deal of political will. The great thing about the idea is that this will comes not from just bicyclists but neighbors who will benefit from quieter, cleaner and kid friendly design.
-- Sadowsky is moving to Portland at the end of June and is set to officially take over at the BTA on July 1st. For more on his advocacy style, read this recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times.