Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 4th, 2011 at 12:25 pm
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has released a one-year report on the City of Portland's 2030 Bike Plan. In it, the non-profit group points out where PBOT has lived up to their lofty goals and where they need to do more.
The BTA commends PBOT for their work on expanding the Safe Routes to School program, developing low-stress bikeway projects, and in collaborating with the Bureau of Environmental Services to build infrastructure that serves both our biking and stormwater management goals.
But, in a section titled, "Next Steps," the BTA points out that the City needs to do much more in order to accomplish the lofty goals set forth in the Bike Plan.
They want more neighborhood greenways and more bike lanes/cycle tracks, etc...
"If City Hall follows through on its commitment to build 15 miles of Neighborhood Greenways every year, some neighborhoods will still be without those facilities seventeen years from today... The BTA recommends the City build 25 miles of Neighborhood Greenways each year and 25 miles of separated in-roadway facilities."
They want the City to launch a bike-sharing system...
"Bike sharing systems make bicycling an easy, convenient option for short-distance trips and create better connections to public transportation for more people."
They want to see Safe Routes to School offered in every Portland school...
"Safe Routes to School is a vital program that should be in every school in the City, every single year"
They want Sunday Parkways every Sunday from May to October...
"The BTA believes the high participation rates show widespread support for increased Sunday Parkways, and that partnerships with businesses and community organizations can help establish sustainable funding."
And they want more funding from PBOT for bike projects...
"The BTA would like to see a Bike Plan Finance Task Force established in the coming year... Roughly 5% of PBOT’s current five-year budget is allocated for bike projects and programs, yet 14% of all bridge crossings into downtown in 2010 were bicycles. The City should work to find adequate funding to build out the complete Bike Plan vision..."
These are all great things to ask for; but PBOT is far from a lone actor in this play. PBOT is overseen by Mayor Sam Adams and much of what the BTA asks for in their report (like almost everything that gets done in this town) will come down to politics. In order for bike projects, programs and funding to grow, the political atmosphere for bikes in this town must improve.
For better or for worse, Adams and his colleagues on City Council have to feel that the public will and political calculations add up for bikes before any bold new steps are taken. The BTA can help foster that by using their resources to create an effective local movement around bicycling. Also included in their one year Bike Plan report are several ways you can help them take action.
As we think about how to make 2011 even better for bikes in Portland, we'd be wise to keep Ross Perot's great quote in mind: "The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river."
Check out the report for yourself via PDF.