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The Oregonian’s stance on bicycling (My opinion on their opinion)

Posted by on February 22nd, 2012 at 2:21 pm

The Oregonian Editorial Board weighed in on the state of bicycling in Portland today. The editorial appeared on the same week that PBOT released its annual bike counts showing a 6.4% increase between 2010 and 2011.

Whenever our state’s newspaper of record devotes major opinion space to bicycling, it’s worth noting. Regardless of what you think about The Oregonian, the fact remains they own an influential voice that helps frame the conversation. In Biking the path to urban health, The O’s Editorial Board seems to give a big thumbs up to bicycling in general, but when you look more closely, their opinion isn’t quite as clear.

The opening paragraphs lay out our success and tout that bicycling has, “become part of Portland’s DNA and identity.” They even mention how bikes make us healthier, contribute to our economy, and attract businesses and families. Sounds fantastic to me! Oh wait, then there’s a “but”…

But the drive to make biking an easy and safer choice for more folks, including those stuck in traffic in Portland’s suburbs, is tough and expensive — the city’s commitment to achieve the 25 percent benchmark was budgeted at a breathtaking $600 million

I disagree with this completely. First, one of the main reasons improving our bike network has been “tough” is that local politicians have cowered under public “controversy” fueled in large part by media bias and sensationalism around bicycling — much of it from The Oregonian themselves (the lack of strong local advocacy to bolster City Hall’s support hasn’t helped either).

Improving bike access on roads and bridges in our city isn’t always technically difficult; it’s often more about political will. At a recent meeting, I heard a high-level PBOT traffic engineer, while addressing the agency’s difficulties in moving forward with separated bikeways in the downtown core, say, “That’s the magic of these projects, having the political feasibility and the technical feasibility come together.”

And “expensive”? Really?!

Bicycling is by far and away the most affordable transportation investment we can make and it has the greatest return on investment. The Oregonian trudges out the “$600 million” bike plan figure that unfortunately dominated headlines when the 2030 Bike Plan passed two years ago. Not only is using that figure in this context highly misleading, but they actually explain it incorrectly. The City did not, as The O’s editorial writers proclaim, budget $600 million in order to achieve a 25% bike mode split. That amount is the estimated cost of all the projects listed in the 2030 Bike Plan.

And as master plans go, the Bike Plan’s $600 million wish list of projects pales in comparison to the $1,719 million ($1.7 Billion) Freight Master Plan (but don’t expect to see the local media fret over that number any time soon).

It’s also hypocritical for The Oregonian to call budgets into question when they are unabashedly beating the drum for the controversial and expensive Columbia River Crossing project — a project that falls apart under scrutiny and has already cost taxpayers well over $100 million in planning.

As for the 25% bike mode split: It’s possible to get there for a fraction of $600 million. After all, things like removing publicly subsidized parking for private vehicles to create more space for bicycling and doing road diets (re-configuring lanes on streets that have more lanes than capacity warrants) cost nothing. But, according to The O, that type of stuff isn’t possible:

Part of the challenge lies in the urban retrofit. It doesn’t always work.

The reason it “doesn’t always work” has far less to do with engineering problems and much more to do with a lack of willingness for local leaders to be bold and break free of the auto-dominated status quo that continues to govern how we design our streets (yes, even in Portland).

“Everything from bridge bike lanes to the construction of more than 30 miles of bicycle boulevards is pricey, while extensive planning is required for summertime experiments such as Sunday Parkways in which families experience carefree biking on carless neighborhood streets.”

To call bicycle boulevards “pricey” is a bit of a stretch. Even for the top-of-the-line model, they’re only about $250,000 per mile. But the more important point is that, relative to other transportation investments (like streetcars at $15 million per mile), they are a bargain. Not to mention that bicycles do almost zero damage to the roads and require a pittance in annual maintenance and operations costs.

And what’s with referring to Sunday Parkways as an “experiment”? Sunday Parkways is an institution in Portland. The experiment is over. And it was successful. Part of the reason it has succeeded is precisely because of all the “extensive planning” PBOT puts into it. In addition, a recent study showed that the health benefits alone outweigh the costs.

And then, in the end of the piece, The Oregonian makes it crystal clear why they were motivated to write this editorial:

… While the new figures show a 4 percent rise in bicycle crossings via the Broadway, Steel, Burnside and Hawthorne bridges — with bikes accounting for a whopping 15 percent of all bridge traffic in Portland — it is not unreasonable to worry about the price of our next bike-building steps in this cash-strapped time.

So, according to The Oregonian, because budgets are tight, we should worry about the one mode, bicycling, that stretches our dollars further than any other, helps the local economy, reduces health care costs, creates a lasting and valuable brand identity for our city, and much more.

The Oregonian then suggests some “comparatively inexpensive” things that would have “major benefits.” Their ideas? Painting bike lanes through intersections, adding more signs, and fixing “poor street conditions.” I feel safer already.

“But most of all,” they write, we should do more to get bikes off main streets…

But most of all, a 2011 alliance report suggests, mapping out the best bike routes that keep cyclists away from cars will have the most benefit to the most riders and encourage the most bicyclists.

Backstreet solutions like neighborhood greenways have their place; but they are not a substitute for making real improvements to bike access on our business corridors and main streets.

This is a strange piece of editorial writing. The Oregonian seems to understand bicycling is amazing and has helped our city in many ways, yet we shouldn’t spend any real money on it and we should keep bikes on the backstreets where they won’t get in the way.

I’m not sure what’s more dangerous: When the media clearly doesn’t get it and blasts bicycling out of anger and ignorance, or — as seems to be the case with The Oregonian — positions themselves as supportive, yet only when it requires no difficult decisions or changes to the status quo.

Read the full editorial here. And as always, I’d love to know your thoughts…

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Comments
  • Joe Adamski February 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    The Oregonians’ Editorial Board is afraid to annoy the 300 loyal readers they have left.

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    • Andyc February 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Yep. Nothing actually interesting or insightful from these dinosaurs anymore. I think the comics section of the Oregonian is still kinda okay.

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      • Mike Fish February 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

        At least they still have the NYT crossword.

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  • 9watts February 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Excellent dissection, Jonathan.
    I too disliked this:
    “…mapping out the best bike routes that keep cyclists away from cars will have the most benefit to the most riders and encourage the most bicyclists.”

    How about a rewrite?

    But most of all…*keeping cars away from cyclists* will have the most benefit to the most riders and encourage the most bicyclists.

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  • Stephen Fortunato February 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Jon,

    Have you thought about posting snippets of your rebuttal in the comments section of oregonlive.com? Your arguments would reach an audience that doesn’t usually hear about the benefits of cycling. Hey, you may even win a few converts and new readers of Bikeportland.org.

    Keep up the great work,
    Stephen

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    • Andrew N February 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      Agreed. Or maybe a guest editorial?

      The O is an embarrassment not just to themselves, but to Portland as a whole. How amazing it would be to have a daily paper that reflects the spirit of the city rather than the PBA…

      And thank you Jonathan, well done!

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      • Our local daily paper is sad February 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        The Oregonian endorsed Bush! And they are supporting the Highway Expansion Project known as the CRC.

        They are so out of touch with Portlanders. It is why they are pandering to the few suburban subscribers that have been getting their crappy conservative paper for the last 50 years.

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        • middle of the road guy February 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

          What’s funny to me is that all of the conservatives lambaste the O for being liberal and all of the liberals cry about how “corporate” it is.

          Bottom line: if someone holds a different opinion than yours, they must have arrived at it in an irrational manner and can therefore be dismissed.

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          • middle of what road? February 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm

            Except that claiming the O is liberal is a (poorly informed) opinion, the fact that it is corporate is not an opinion.

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        • sorebore February 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

          All local daily’s are sad because they are all owned by the same parent companies, with the same political agendas. Those agenda’s include selling ads for Tonkin Auto Plaza, Les Schwab tires, and most anything else connected to the main stream of American consumerism. As stated before, I love internal combustion, Top Fuel Drag racing is AWESOME, BUT we are many years away from seeing cycling treated without editorial ambiguity in the daily papers across the U.S. IMO. No one understands this? Bicycling is still outsider stuff for far too many people. BTW… I wholeheartedly agree that J.M. should be featured in a guest editorial in the Oregonian…

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        • BicycleDave February 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

          Not only did they endorse Bush, but after watching him screw up so horribly they endorsed him for a second term!

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  • Ethan February 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    We cancelled our subscription not long ago. I have enough back copies to light the fireplace for a couple of years.

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  • Matt February 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    When I saw that “expensive” comment in the O editorial I immediately thought of Sam Adams mentioning 1 mile of freeway.

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  • natasha February 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    “routes that keep cyclists away from cars will have the most benefit”
    The few times I’ve collide with cars have been on these “safe” backstreets. When reaching a stop sign in these neighborhoods drivers usually don’t come to a full stop or look both ways. I don’t know how many times I’ve almost been hit while riding down Going St. Bicycling may be more of a nuisance to cars on the main roads, but they’re usually more aware of my presence. Cars entering busy streets tend to pay more attention to ongoing traffic, my bike included.

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    • browse February 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      I whole-heartedly agree. The two accidents I’ve experienced while bicycling have been on sleepy backstreets. My firm belief is that those roads encourage a more casual, less attentive driving style. I’ll take riding in downtown any day.

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      • sorebore February 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

        true.

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  • A.K. February 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    F- the Oregonian. Seriously. Shoddy writing merged with dubious “facts” and half-truths.

    Everyone who works there or writes there should be embarrassed about what that publication stands for and strive to be better.

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  • John Mulvey February 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Great post, Jonathan.

    One thing worth mentioning is that when the Bike Plan was passed, the Oregonian’s hysteria around the alleged $600M price tag was what led to the Mayor’s frantic and ill-conceived scramble to find some immediate funding –that was how we got the “sewer money for bikes” thing that every one of us has had to constantly rebut for the last two years.

    So unfortunately the Oregonian does influence public policy in this city, probably more than we’d like. Let’s hope our Mayor can keep his wits about him this time. Responding to criticism from the Oregonian is fine, but creating a bigger controversy in the process is really really bad for biking in Portland.

    -John

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    • Steve B February 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      I’m not sure that is the right connection. The Oregonian was lambasting even the idea of spending money on bikes. Rather I think it was pressure from advocates and within PBOT that inspired Adams to get creative to come up with new funds quickly for the Bike Plan.

      The Sewer money for bikes lanes was an example of poor delivery and messaging, nevermind that sewer money didn’t go into building bike lanes, mostly bioswales along bikeways.

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      • BURR February 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

        those bioswales don’t do a damn thing for cyclists except create a new class of road hazards that need to be avoided.

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        • JRB February 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm

          But they do reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff which is the biggest source of pollution to our waterways.

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  • Mark Allyn February 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    How much do they rely on auto dealer advertising?

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    • BicycleDave February 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Just look in a typical Sunday Oregonian and see how much space is taken up by auto ads. Grocery stores are another big staple. They took a big hit from craigslist on revenue from classified ads which is now a fraction of what it used to be.

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  • MeghanH February 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I noticed these contradictions as well. It’s almost like two different people wrote this editorial (one who bikes and one who only drives.) But it was nice even to see a headline in the Oregonian that was positive toward cycling.

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    • sorebore February 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      May I submit one of my favorite quotes….

      Mark Twain, BTW….

      I am personally acquainted with hundreds of journalists, and the opinion of the majority of them would not be worth tuppence in private, but when they speak in print it is the newspaper that is talking (the pygmy scribe is not visible) and then their utterances shake the community like the thunders of prophecy.
      - “License of the Press,” speech, 31 March 1873

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  • Jeremy Cohen February 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Jonathan–I think you did a great job examining that editorial. I think you are spot on with your understanding of the surface positive message with an underhanded negative spin. What troubles me the most is that the Oregonian falls so quickly into the simplistic thinking that ignores the potential complexity of the conversation. Putting aside the poor writing of the article, they do an extremely poor job of citing their sources and the result is that they make policy suggestions without any evidence that supports it. I have come to expect that type of psuedo-journalism from the soundbite driven TV media, but the paper missed an opportunity to show how complex this issue really is–they don’t have to gasp at the cost of bike improvements if they would put them in the context of other expenditures (as you point out). It reminds me of my daughter feeling “rich” when she gets a quarter for being nice to her little sister–to her a quarter is a lot of money, but in the complexity of the household budget, not so much.
    Thanks again for insightful writing/thinking

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  • Oliver February 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    MeghanH above has it right, the schizophrenic viewpoint is palpable, but I think the sympathetic headline only exists to simultaneously draw in the grumpies and raise their blood pressure, so that they will be primed to absorb the talking points.

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  • Spiffy February 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    preaching to the choir… get the O to put this in their guest articles section…

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  • Jon Makela February 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Jonathan, you wrote, “local politicians have cowered under public “controversy” fueled in large part by media bias and sensationalism around bicycling. ”

    Good faith question – what else is fueling this “controversy”? Could it legitimate popular and political opposition? I can see legitimate resistance to removing on-street parking to make way for bike lanes. But you completely overlook this possibility, seemingly discounting any opposition to your favored policy preferences as illegitimate borne not of serious and reasonable consideration tion but ignorance fueled by hysteria.

    There are legitimate reasons not to make the tradeoffs that you’re suggesting.

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    • are February 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      any argument that onstreet parking should be preserved would be “legitimate” only to the extent it acknowledged that this is a subsidy as the expense of other road users.

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  • q`Tzal February 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    JM: do you think the O will publish your response to their editorial?

    Certainly they will print the ill-informed bicycle hate speech replies; I’m hoping that some well written pro-bike reply gets printed as well.

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  • Very interesting comment February 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Interesting comment, Jonathan:
    “(the lack of strong local advocacy to bolster City Hall’s support hasn’t helped either)”

    Do you have information about what is working in successful cities (Amsterdam, Copenhagan, Berlin, Davis, etc?)

    I don’t disagree with you at all, but I’d love to hear more about what you think a strong local advocacy organization would look like.

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  • sabes February 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    It’s a good thing that most people who buy the Oregonian don’t read the articles.

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    • q`Tzal February 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      It’s like that joke about movie theaters – they only show movies to get you buy popcorn.

      Seems like the O and other low brow publishers exist only to get you to look at the advertisements. The more sensational the story is the easier it is to ensure readers look at the advertisements.

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  • Hemp22 February 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    My initial though, Jonathon, is that you need to send this whole thing to the Oregonian, as a letter to the editor, in response to the editorial.

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    • 9watts February 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Who knows, perhaps Jonathan’s readership is on par with or has surpassed the Oregonian?

      In a way writing in to the O with comments is like “keep[ing] cyclists away from cars.” Both reify a once dominant but now rapidly fading cultural institution. Jonathan doesn’t need the O, and we don’t need cars. Life and Oregon would be better off without either, and one day will.

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  • ambrown February 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Yes Please. I would love for this excellent op-ed to get the regional audience it deserves.

    Hemp22
    My initial though, Jonathon, is that you need to send this whole thing to the Oregonian, as a letter to the editor, in response to the editorial.
    Recommended 1

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  • BURR February 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    excellent commentary, Jonathan

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  • jim February 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Jonathan-
    do you really trust our govt. to make sane decisions on removing traffic lanes? These are the same people that turned Interstate avenue into a parking lot by making it into a 2 lane road (without through bikelanes by the way) which also forced more traffic onto the already busy N Williams and also Greely.

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  • Joe Rowe February 22, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Very much the smug Oregonian thinking they have the answers. They are mocking the NYtimes by throwing in words like indefatigable BTA, when tireless would be a nice use of wordplay.

    An honest editorial would talk about some new data, ask deep questions and share a vision.

    The O staff spin the reader in circles. Look at this quote “it is not unreasonable to worry”. We are all worried and all know it is reasonable to worry in this economy. Duh.

    The board could just be honest and say: We feel it’s reasonable to fear the price of bike building.

    Read between the lines: The Board is taking the same stance as Ms. Brady did in the mayor’s debate. Cut bike funding other than the cheap greenways, and expect to cut congestion. Go to Houston or any city in Florida and see how that has worked.

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    • middle of the road guy February 23, 2012 at 10:56 am

      Very smug you thinking you have all the answers.

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      • q`Tzal February 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        Very smug thinking you have all the answers as well … as well as the last word.

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  • 9watts February 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

    “Not to mention that bicycles do almost zero damage to the roads and require a pittance in annual maintenance and operations costs.”

    On could make this point more forcefully. Not only are bicycles easier on our infrastructure, bicycles (and walking) are the only modes that have an unequivocally salutary effect on our energy future. Everything else (including street cars, MAX, Trimet, etc.) rely on fossil fuels, which there are going to be less/fewer of in the future, and what there is we will be at pains not to dig up and burn. So the Oregonian’s math here is deeply flawed and stuck in the 20th Century where oil was ‘always’ going to be cheap and abundant.

    Peak Oil Task force report anyone?
    http://tinyurl.com/3ohs8gh
    Oregon Global Warming Commission report on transportation and land use?
    http://tinyurl.com/3s76voe

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    • middle of the road guy February 23, 2012 at 11:01 am

      9watts,

      cycling has an indirect need for fossil fuels. Lanes are built on roads that are paid for primarily through fossil fuel consumption. Were it not for cars and trucks, there would be no roads and no bike lanes.

      Building bike paths also require the consumption of fossil fuels both for the materials and for the construction.

      let’s not forget that the building and maintenance of a bike itself requires fossil fuels.

      There are many other examples. Any time I hear a cyclist say they are “zero carbon”, I just have to laugh at the self-righteousness and ignorance of the statement.

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      • 9watts February 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

        MOTRG, you’re missing the larger point.

        We live in a fossil fuel saturated world. Your strawberry jam (and pretty much everything you eat, wear, use, throw away) most likely has a substantial carbon footprint, as do our bike boulevards. But neither the strawberry jam nor bicycling *require* massive fossil fuel inputs the way automobility (and the transportation modes the Oregonian seems in this editorial to think are less expensive) does. I think you can appreciate the difference.
        When we no longer have access to cheap and abundant fossil fuels, bicycling will be alive and well as will our preserves. Both predate the advent of fossil fuels and both will outlast them.

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      • q`Tzal February 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        I’ve oft found myself pondering how bicycle tires are made cheaply without petrochemicals.

        It’ll be like the Transistors vs Vacuum Tubes audiophile fight. When supply gets low enough that it is no longer cost effective as an energy source petroleum made tires will likely have a purist following that swear off the replacement as totally inferior.

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        • 9watts February 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

          I’m not sure that much of the industrial output we’ve gotten used to will be available ‘cheaply’ when the cheap petrochemicals are gone/we’ve decided it is better for everyone if we don’t exploit them, but that is very different from those products (or substitutes) not being available at all. We’ll just value bike tires more than we do now, treat them more carefully, really wear them out till the threads show, retread them even?

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      • Matt February 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        “Were it not for cars and trucks, there would be no roads and no bike lanes.”

        Ever been to Europe? Seen all those roads they have that predate “cars and trucks?”

        Ever see old photos of Portland? Back in the mid 19th century? Ever see all those roads that predate cars and trucks?

        That argument doesn’t hold water.

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        • BicycleDave February 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

          Exactly! It was bicycle clubs that got the first paved roads in this country.

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      • spare_wheel February 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm

        “Lanes are built on roads that are paid for primarily through fossil fuel consumption.”

        Many local and state roads are or were built largely using bonds or taxes. Likewise, the tax on motor fuels now only funds a fraction of total federal highway spending (~40%). I would suggest that mooching motorists show a little more gratitude towards car-free tax payers who help pay their bills.

        “Were it not for cars and trucks, there would be no roads and no bike lanes.”

        This is false. There were plenty of roads and paths prior to the invention of the internal combustion engine.

        “let’s not forget that the building and maintenance of a bike itself requires fossil fuels.”

        Metal alloys can be produced and shaped without the use of fossil fuels. France and Brazil produce the vast majority of their electrical power without the use of fossil fuels.

        “Any time I hear a cyclist say they are “zero carbon”, I just have to laugh at the self-righteousness and ignorance of the statement.”

        It is possible to minimize one’s output of greenhouse gases. Eating meat, over-consumption of manufactured trinkets, driving a motor-vehicle, and living in a large house are first-world luxuries.

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        • Matt February 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          “I would suggest that mooching motorists show a little more gratitude towards car-free tax payers who help pay their bills.”

          Best. Comment. Ever.

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        • Richard February 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

          Moreover, the roads in almost all new commercial, residential and industrial developments are constructed at the expense of the developer. If you buy a home in a new development, you are paying for the new roads as part of the price of your home. Fuel taxes aren’t involved.

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  • Kristen February 23, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I thought their “breathtaking” comment would have been better served describing the CRC funding numbers.

    The editorial struck me as someone who dashed off something and didn’t want to offend anyone, or wanted to offend everyone– it seemed like a rough draft, the paragraphs didn’t lead in to each other very well and it seemed disjointed. Maybe it was written by two or three different people?

    Count me in with the folks who’d love to see JMaus write a rebuttal and have it be published in the paper (not just on oregonlive).

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  • Critter February 23, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for responding to the Oregonian’s op-ed. I probably wouldn’t have caught it otherwise. I appreciate your commentary and agree with the majority of your argument (and agree with previous posters that the Oregonian’s piece seemed like a somewhat incoherent rough draft).

    But I also would echo Jon Makela’s comment – that there are sometimes legitimate reasons to not trade car space for bike space.

    I also disagree with your statement that road diets and removing on street parking “cost nothing”. The portion of the bicycle-specific improvements of these projects may be relatively small, with large benefits, but the statement I think weakens your argument.

    But on the whole – Thanks for keeping us up to date!

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  • Andrew K February 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

    The Oregonian is just so sad in my opinion. Clearly they are writing articles with the sole purpose of getting more page views and activity on their forums.

    They do this by presenting half-truths, unclear arguments, and rarely, if ever, citing their sources. Then they leave it to their readers to duke it out. To me they are no better than all the other 24 hour “news” networks who just spew talking points at the wall hoping a few will stick. It’s not journalism.

    Thankfully we have other publications here in Portland who do a much better job. I rather enjoy reading the Portland Tribune and even though their main goal is often to be humorous I find the WW and the Mercury to be more in-depth with their stories.

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  • Lenny Anderson February 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Great response Jonathan. What a wimpy editorial, but I’ve come to expect very little from The O; of course the Trib is even worse. Ah, to have a progressive daily that reflects the vast majority residents of the City as opposed to those of Dunthorpe, etc. But the days of ink on paper are all but over; thanks again for BikePortland’s fine work.

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  • michael downes February 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    First rate editorial! Keep up the good work.

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  • Jeffrey Bernards February 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    The Editorial Board endorsed our campaign to ban studded tires, that’s somewhat anti car. Not everything is written for you, get over it. I’ve been on the Lars Larson show, believe me the media is a tough market, especially now with the internet. The Oregonian goes to the school board meetings and prints what happened, I want to know. When you start going and posting that to the web I’ll read you. But for now the Oregonian is doing the best it can considering the current climate and the media downsizing.
    Oregonian subscriber (and it’s hard to be sometimes) I admit.

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    • 9watts February 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      Whoa, Jeff.
      when you’re on Lars Larsen do you pitch your anti-studded tires ballot measure as ‘anti-car’?
      I don’t see this as anti car but as anti-traction-paranoia, or pro-infrastructure.

      “But for now the Oregonian is doing the best it can considering the current climate …”

      This is a rather curious statement, but since you’re swimming against the tide here, would you care to elaborate?
      Why is Jonathan able to do so much better. Does he operate in a different climate? If not, why can’t they do more of what he’s doing?

      bikeportland enthusiast (and it’s not hard to be any time).

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm

        9watts,

        I agree with Jeff in some ways. I am not anti-The Oregonian. They do a lot of great work and reporting that no one else currently does… I just think they are wrong on some issues and when they get bicycling coverage wrong, I feel a responsibility to point it out.

        I guess this is one of those, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” type of things.

        Yes, The O has a lot of problems… I’d just rather see them evolve and change, and not become extinct.

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        • 9watts February 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

          “I’d just rather see them evolve and change, and not become extinct.”
          o.k., though with journalism like this editorial I’m not sure which seems more likely. This town is full of smart people, which I think is borne out by the fact that in contrast to your website’s readership their subscriber base is shrinking (or that at least is my understanding).

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      • Jeffrey Bernards February 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

        I don’t pitch it as anti-car but can it be viewed as that by Studded tire users. They feel as if they should be able to drive whenever and whatever the condition, that the car is king and supersedes any consideration to the damage their causing.

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  • PorterStout February 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Jonathan Maus for President.

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  • jjoplin February 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Be very afraid. Stay indoors. Watch TV. Sleep ’till you’re hungry. Drive to the grocery store. Drive back home. Be very afraid. Stay indoors. Watch TV. Sleep…

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    • Richard February 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      And when you drive, be sure to use studded snow tires. After all, there might be ice somewhere.

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  • Jon Makela February 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    When we don’t have access to cheap fossil fuels any longer? They’re cheap only in relation to outrageously expensive alternatives.

    Frankly, I’d prefer to keep the cheaper fossil fuels so I can afford to drive to our national parks, fly home to the Midwest and generally maintain a modest quality of life.

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    • 9watts February 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      “I’d prefer to keep the cheaper fossil fuels so I can afford to drive to our national parks”
      You’re not alone.
      But it isn’t really up to us about what we’d prefer anymore than it was about what the residents of Joplin, MO would have preferred.

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    • middle of what road? February 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Actually, those “cheap” fossil fuels aren’t really so cheap. It’s just that the cost is dumped elsewhere. Wars and occupations, environmental degradation, etc. when added to the cost per gallon make it very expensive and additionally reduce funding to programs that help our communities. Call it what you want, but just not “cheap”.

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  • Joe Rowe February 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I’m pro Oregonian when they share new bike statistics and ask deep questions about how that might connect to the goals of the community. They had a minor fail here. The board reflects the average American’s awareness of transpiration.

    Yes the initial price tag of some bike facilities seems high. The long term savings are perhaps higher. The data shows that even high cost bike fixes are cheap compared to other non bike solutions when the goal is reduction of congestion. The data shows more bikes on the road, and even more people would stop driving alone if the system did not fail them.

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  • Jon Makela February 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    are
    any argument that onstreet parking should be preserved would be “legitimate” only to the extent it acknowledged that this is a subsidy as the expense of other road users.
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    I don’t follow. All govt spending subsidizes something to some extent. On-street parking serves a legitimate commercial activity.

    As is always the case, we have competing interests. You have your preference just as other have their own preferences.

    However, it seems here that to disagree with the prevailing winds of enhanced bicycling options and increased government subsidies then the disagreement is considered illegitimate and borne not of reason but from being brainwashed or hysteria. It’s curious.

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  • jim February 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    “things like removing subsidized parking”
    Does that include removing those bike corals that are in the street?

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  • Richard February 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Bikes: 6% of the traffic, no measureable wear on the roads, and less than 0.5% of the PBOT budget. How are bikes a problem?
    Instead of riding my bike to work on the Springwater Willamette trail, I think I’ll do my civic duty to solve the City’s budget woes: I’ll stick some studded snow tires on my car, and drive it to work.

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