Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 16th, 2012 at 4:32 pm
Hey everyone, I've been wanting to get a bit more informal here on the Front Page. There are many things that cross my mind (and my desk) each week that I don't post about; but that I want to share. And since Twitter is only 140 characters and it's, well, Twitter, I want to try and start doing this every Friday. Think of it like the publisher's letter. Expect a smattering of brief mentions, opinions, and whatnot. Thanks for reading, and thanks again for another amazing week of stories and comments. Oh, and I'm not sure what to call this new column. Any ideas? — Jonathan
If you're in need of outfitting yourself with new gear for winter, you're in luck. Showers Pass is blowing out their famed rain gear at "stupid low prices" at a warehouse sale that starts tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. This event was huge last year, so I'd suggest getting there early (it goes until 12 noon). 2101 SE 6th Ave (cross street is SE Lincoln). But wait! There's more... I've lived in Icebreaker merino wool stuff for the past few years. Seriously. It's awesome. And the big Friends and Family sale started today. It goes until 7:00 pm. It's also on tomorrow from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm at 525 NW 10th Ave.
Once you get all cozied up in your new wool, you should definitely check out the new bikeways over on NE Multnomah in the Lloyd District. They've added a lot more since my post a few days ago. This is an important project. The protected bike lanes and other big changes show what's possible in reforming outdated streets. And if it's deemed a success, we could see it happen all over the city. Go check it out and let me know what you think.
Speaking of reform, I'm fascinated that Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey has re-ignited the debate about the Westside bypass freeway project. I've already heard folks are gearing up to oppose it and it's sure to be contentious. How will the debate be different this time around? Does the growth of the west side make more freeways inevitable? What will be the basis of the argument from those who oppose this project? A lot of big questions that should make for an interesting 2013 legislative session.
When things start heating up down in Salem next year, I'm sure there will be lots of transportation issues to cover and discuss. Today, Oregon House representative Val Hoyle was named as majority leader. That should come in handy for issues many of us care about, seeing as how Rep. Hoyle was also recently elected to the BTA's Board of Directors.
Closer to home here in Portland, I've been dismayed and upset by something I've heard regarding the N. Williams Avenue project. That project — which, as many of you know, has turned into a case study on community racial tension and so on — was the subject of two separate panel discussions this week. People that attended those events have informed me that someone who was involved with the project is spreading lies about me and the role BikePortland played in the project. This is very unfortunate. If you were at one of those events and know what I'm talking about, please contact me. I would really like the opportunity to set the record straight.
On a much brighter note, I thoroughly enjoyed following along on Twitter as Emily "6 kids and no car" Finch traveled to Los Angeles this week to appear as a guest on The Ricki Lake Show. Emily has really handled her new-found celebrity well. Watch the Front Page next week where I'll try to recap the amazing journey her story has taken since our story back in June (it's been shared on Facebook over 20,000 times!).
On a cargo biking note, today I sat down with a public information staffer that works with the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management. They're creating a video about the role bicycles can play in disaster response. I was more than happy to share my experiences from New York City during Sandy. I've been thinking a lot about New York as I ride around Portland. Beyond the disaster, my time there really changed my perspective on density. I've always understood it to be a good thing from a transportation planning standpoint, but now I really see how our lack of it here in Portland creates limitations.
It will be difficult for us to achieve the type of non-auto mode splits we are aiming for if we don't add density. It's with this new lens that I am seeing the parking debate unfold. I'm relieved that it appears — thanks in large part because of testimony by many of you — City Council won't be changing the existing codes that allow developers to build multi-story apartments without on-site car parking. Despite protestations by The Oregonian Editorial Board (big surprise!), the conversation seems to be veering toward a real discussion of parking management and pricing. In general, I think this parking debate is aligned well with the general sense I heard at the first PBOT Budget Advisory Committee this week, that pricing parking higher and more often than we do now isn't a matter of if, it's a matter of when.
Our recently elected mayor-to-be Charlie Hales threw me for a loop this week. I thought it was obvious that he should address the very poor and misleading KATU story about his transportation plans; but apparently Hales thinks he's made his opinions perfectly clear. Unfortunately, he hasn't. I was concerned about the way Hales talked about transportation during the campaign. Those concerns remain. And now added to them are concerns about his inability to set an honest public narrative about transportation in the local media.
Have a great weekend.