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Checking in from the road as our study tour begins

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 2nd, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Amsterdam the magnificent-48
Amsterdam scene.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland

This is part of ongoing coverage of the Green Lane Project/Bikes Belong Netherlands Study Tour.

Hey everyone. Thought it would be a good time to check and let you know what's happening with my trip. As you might have gathered, I was in Copenhagen last week. Over the weekend I traveled to Amsterdam for a few days prior to meeting up with the Bikes Belong/Green Lane Project study tour delegation in Utrecht.

It's been great meeting everyone in the 12-member delegation (and three Bikes Belong staffers). It's a stellar collection of folks. Joining me to represent Portland is Executive Director of Venture Portland Heather Hoell, BTA Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky, and Metro Councilor Sam Chase.

We begin our week together this morning with a bike tour through Utrecht. Also today we'll hear from experts on cycling in the Netherlands and visite Leidse Rijn, a new development in Utrecht. According to our official (you can check it out here via PDF), the development will provide a good example of, "how current transportation thinking and urban policy is shaping development in a fast-growing region."

In addition to Utrecht, our trip will include stops in 's-Hertogenbosch, Rotterdam, Delft, and of course, Amsterdam.

Metro Councilor Sam Chase at
our orientation meeting last night.

I had hoped to do a bit more coverage of Copenhagen prior to starting the study tour, but I haven't gotten to it yet. It's always a difficult balance of soaking up as much of the experience as possible, while also shutting myself in a room and making stories and sharing photos. That being said, I still have some things to report about Copenhagen and you'll definitely hear more from me about it.

My stopover in Amsterdam for the past few days was simply magical. What a fascinating city for cycling! I have some photos and thoughts to share about the social and stylish side of its cycling culture that I plan to share later today. Our trip ends in Amsterdam at the end of the week and that will give me a chance to see it from a more wonky/policy perspective.

I hope you are enjoying the stories and photos so far. Like everyone told me before I got here, I have been simply blown away. While I knew what these places were like on an intellectual level, experiencing them in person has forever altered my cycling consciousness and has given me amazing new perspectives.

I also think we should give a shout out to Michael Andersen, my new partner in crime who has been doing a great job back in the office while I'm away. Thank you Michael!

Stay tuned and I hope all is well in Portland.

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Comments
  • Jeff June 3, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Keep up the good work.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Paul in the 'couve June 3, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Thanks Jonathan

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  • 9watts June 3, 2013 at 7:47 am

    "experiencing them in person has forever altered my cycling consciousness and has given me amazing new perspectives."

    We could do all of this here too. It is almost entirely about priorities. Just imagine the headline: CRC scrapped for Copenhagen-style makeover of City*
    And as you've showed, there is so much to like about the results. Sure, too many folks here don't pay enough attention while they are piloting their cars, and, unlike the Netherlands, biking is not inculcated in 100% of the population from an early age, but all of this could be pursued, could be funded, could be recognized as not only enjoyable, a net gain for everyone, but also as a necessity.

    Thanks for your reports and stories.

    *There's a zero sum for City Club - ha! and I bet we'd have a couple $ billion left over, and more local jobs, to boot.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • PNP June 3, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Jonathan, I hope you saw the bike parking structure just outside the Amsterdam Central Station--not that you could miss it! It's a two-level bike-only structure and when I saw it, it was jam packed with what hundreds of bikes. All I could think was...memorize where you park or you'll never find your bike again!

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    • Zach Vanderkooy June 3, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Not to nitpick, but it's 3 levels and is jammed with 2,500 bikes. But point well made!

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    • Amsterdamize June 3, 2013 at 10:26 am

      it's 3-level and it handles 2500 bikes..well, on paper, usually packed with more :)

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  • Steve Scarich June 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Jonathan

    A bit off-topic, but did you get a general sense of how expensive it is to live in Copenhagen?

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    • Chris I June 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      It's similar to most European cities. Based on my grocery store barometer, I would say it is a bout 50% more expensive than Portland, not factoring in exchange rates. Space is definitely at a premium in the central city, so I'm sure housing costs are high.

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  • Dweendaddy June 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Jonathan,
    I enjoy your reporting and will look forward to hearing about this study group.
    I forget if you already made a disclosure, but who is funding your trip?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Thanks Dweendaddy,

      I paid for the plane ticket to get here and my lodging and expenses in Copenhagen and in Amsterdam for 3-4 days or so.

      Bikes Belong/Green Lane Project is paying for everything during the five day study tour that began today and goes through Friday.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • gumby June 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I would like to know how cycling is doing outside the central city. I've read that car use is increasing throughout europe, especially outside the city centers.

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  • Kirk June 4, 2013 at 1:43 am

    I love these posts - they bring back so many beautiful memories of time spent in the Netherlands, what a magical place. It's been fun reading how your views are changing, I am excited to see how that'll affect your reporting back home...if you come back.

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