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City Club to release major report on bicycling May 31st

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 17th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

The City Club of Portland, a respected local civic institution founded in 1916, will release their comprehensive research study on bicycling in Portland on May 31st. On that same day, bicycling will be the subject of their Friday Forum speaking series (speaker TBD) which will be attended by Portland's movers and shakers at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland.

"With the release of City Club’s report on bicycle transportation in Portland," says a description of the event on their website, "we’ll answer the question: 'How should we improve our transportation system to optimize choice, efficiency and safety for all modes of transportation?'"

Depending on the timing and political climate, City Club research reports can have a big impact on how local issues are perceived. Recall back in June 2010, when a City Club report on Forest Park came out just a few months before the City released its recommendations on mountain bike access.

In their report, Bicycling in Portland: A Serious Look at Transportation Policy and Priorities, City Club says they'll make specific recommendations for the role bicycling should play in Portland, including specific ridership and infrastructure goals, as well as ideas on how to achieve them.

The Bicycle Transportation Research Committee has taken this project very seriously. They've interviewed many local bike leaders and experts (and at least one blogger), they've studied documents, funding levels, budgets, and so on. I fully expect this report to be a substantive look at how Portland is doing and how we need to improve in the future.

When the City Club's Bicycle Transportation Research Committee got to work on this project last April, we said that, "The report will likely come out right as a new mayor of Portland is settling into office. In addition, the transportation funding ideas they come up with will likely hit at a time when local, regional, and statewide discussions about this very issue are becoming very mature." By the end of May that will certainly be the case. Mayor Hales will likely have selected a new Director of PBOT by that time, and as we saw earlier this week he appears to settling in with regards to transportation policy. Also, there is growing chatter among policy makers at the local, regional, and statewide levels that a new statewide transportation funding package is in the works.

Will the report be favorable to bicycling? I would be extremely surprised if it wasn't. Bicycling makes sense for Portland. There is not debate about that. The only time bicycling seems controversial, or anything but a good thing for Portland's future is when it's maligned for pageviews or politics. When you take time to research and fully understand the transportation policy context and benefits of bicycling — like it appears City Club's research committee has — there's simply no way to have a negative outlook on it.

Another clue about what we can expect in this report came Wednesday night when I shared my views on bicycling in Portland as part of a City Club-hosted "Civic Salon." Several members of the research committee were at that event, as were several other City Club members. We discussed many different bike-related topics and I shared all my crazy ideas, concerns, and hopes about where things stand. At the end of the event, someone from the committee said, "After hearing you speak tonight, I feel even better about our report." Hopefully that means the report will echo my feelings of the moment: That Portland has a legacy to be proud of but we've let bad PR and politics get in the way of progress for far too long.

I don't expect this City Club report to solve everything, but if my hunch is right it might help us regain some of our mojo.

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Comments
  • Brad May 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    But will it mean anything? I've grown tired of "major" announcements that turn out to be nothing more than a child's wish list for Santa Claus or a policy paper that carries no more weight than a civic proclamation wishing the Timbers good luck in their next match.

    A true paradigm shift needs political courage and funding-both are lacking in this town.

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  • Chris Smith May 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    At least TWO bloggers...

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  • 9watts May 17, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Well this is most encouraging. Especially since the project got off to such a rough start. I look forward to hearing more.

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  • Jonathan R May 17, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    While I have no insider's knowledge on this report, I'd expect it to try to separate fact from fiction with regard to bicycling in Portland, i.e. sift the common-but-wrong ideas from the true ones.

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  • Paul Tay May 18, 2013 at 3:30 am

    Hopefully, they will call for another 5,000 miles of bike lanes and 1,000 bike boxes. :-P

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  • Mabsf May 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Jon r, don't be so sure about the common but wrong ideas - when I was speaking to them, 2 of the members uttered a few of them! Plus the obligatory scofflaw cyclist experience...

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  • anon1q2w3e4r5t May 20, 2013 at 10:47 am

    ".....I shared my views on bicycling in Portland as part of a City Club-hosted 'Civic Salon.' Several members of the research committee were at that event, as were several other City Club members. We discussed many different bike-related topics and I shared all my crazy ideas, concerns, and hopes about where things stand. "

    Why is the information above not being shared on this blog?

    If this report includes a favorable stance towards bike sharing, especially in Portland, then it will basically negate anything else positive in this report. Portland must say NO! to bike sharing.

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    • 9watts May 20, 2013 at 10:53 am

      "If this report includes a favorable stance towards bike sharing, especially in Portland, then it will basically negate anything else positive in this report. Portland must say NO! to bike sharing."

      And this is because you-anon1q2w3e4r5t-say so?

      Portland must say NO!to anonymous threats or innuendo!

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      • anon1q2w3e4r5t May 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

        "And this is because you-anon1q2w3e4r5t-say so?"

        Yes.

        I'm looking forward to the day I win this "anonymous threats/innuendo" vs. "non-anonymous support/blind-allegiance" bout for bike sharing.

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        • anon1q2w3e4r5t May 20, 2013 at 11:34 am

          but then I will no longer be anonymous......hmmmm this is a conundrum.

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    • NF May 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Anon! I love your constant concern about bike share, but I wish you could actually tell us what you are worried about, and the ways you think it is wont work for Portland.

      Many people like the idea behind bike share, but I wouldn't call it blind allegiance. If you share your concerns, you might be able to change some minds. As it is now, you're just being a tease.

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      • anon1q2w3e4r5t May 21, 2013 at 10:40 am

        One reason why I do not want to reveal or hint at anything yet is simple. When new ideas are introduced that make our cities/streets more livable, entities, organizations, corporations, businesses, etc. that thrive in conditions that promote non-livable cities/streets will be adversely affected. What I bring to the table will significantly disrupt their way of living and so I need to prepare as much as I can for their retaliation.

        Unfortunately, as I'm working on these new ideas, I see things moving forward that are not in the best interests of the livable streets community for the long-term, so I'm compelled to say something such as my rants here and there about bike sharing. I know if I were to reveal these new ideas now, I would be able to prove my claims against bike sharing, but at the same time I would be giving those who are going to retaliate against me a heads up.

        Can you see the predicatment I'm in? I am not purposely trying to be a tease, believe me I would like to reveal everything right now. These new ideas have been cooped up in me for years and has been quite stressful, I just want it all out for the relief alone.

        Instead of this bike sharing nonsense, PBOT should focus on the needs of EXISTING bicyclists and increasing the number of REAL bicyclists. NYCDOT is about to launch one of their biggest mistakes ever, so PBOT should at the very least watch it unfold before proceeding with its own bike sharing endeavour.

        Also, thank you for your reply.

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  • Chris Anderson May 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Ooh sad I missed the civic salon. I even bought tickets, but I must have put it on my calendar wrong. :(

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  • Kevin May 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Stop the press Sam Adams is vying for relevancy again.

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