Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 9th, 2011 at 2:01 pm
The Portland Public School district is in the final weeks of pushing for a bond measure and levy that seeks to raise $548 million through increased property taxes. The money would be used to rebuild, renovate, and improve nearly 100 schools throughout Portland.
What does this have to do with bicycling?
Not only are neighborhood schools, biking, and the urban environment linked in important ways, the PPS bond measure offers a much more tangible benefit for our communities: If passed, the bond would set aside $5 million to be spent on transportation improvements administered by the City's Safe Routes to School program.
Back in March, PPS and the City of Portland agreed to work together to prioritize and fund transportation projects. Here's an excerpt from the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was signed by PPS Superintendent Carole Smith and Mayor Sam Adams (PDF here):
"Reducing the number of students brought to school in private vehicles mutually benefits the City, the District, and the community by decreasing traffic and parking congestion, reducing traffic and parking complaints, increasing efficiencies, reducing environmental impacts and creating safer traffic flow around schools"
According to the MOU, the City would work with PPS to create a master project list for potential improvements that would be implemented throughout the six-year lifespan of the bond program (2011-2017).
Southeast Portland bike shop Clever Cycles has put their support fully behind the measure. On Friday, the shop announced they'd give 10% of sales revenue to the Portland Schools Foundation.
Why would a bike shop support a tax increase for public schools?
Shop co-owner Todd Fahrner wrote on their website,
"... We think car-free and car-lite families, unburdened by the rising costs of motoring that send wealth out of state, should step up to protect and improve the crumbling treasures we have in our neighborhoods... We support well-funded neighborhood schools because they are essential to what we love about Portland, its scale and pace, and the sufficiency and dignity of human power in getting around it, whether you’re 8 or 80."
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