Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 24th, 2013 at 11:04 am
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) plans on making some noise about the success of cycling on the Hawthorne Bridge. To toast the upcoming one-year anniversary of the automated bicycle counter and the 1 millionth trip of 2013, PBOT is hosting a special "Breakfast on the Bridges" event this Friday (7/26).
When the counter reached 1 million trips back in April, we wondered why there wasn't any fanfare. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to tout cycling, but the City didn't make a peep. Perhaps now that the bureau seems to be finally settling in with two new faces at the helm (Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and new Director Leah Treat), they are ready to get their cycling groove back.
"That’s one million times people are improving their health... saving money on gas and car repair, and decreasing traffic congestion, all while having fun commuting and getting around."
— Steve Novick, Commissioner of Transportation
According to a PBOT statement, the city staffers will join volunteers with Shift for the event between 8:00 and 9:00 am on Friday (Novick's visit to the event last month must have left a good impression). They will hand out "millionth-trip themed doughnuts" and they'll be offering to take photos of riders next to the counter and a "One Million + Me" sign. And there's even a social media component: "Anyone who has crossed the bridge by bicycle, skateboard or other non-motorized method is encouraged to share their role in reaching the million-trip milestone on social media with the #MillionBikes hashtag."
Here's more about the event from Commissioner Novick:
"One million is a nice round number people can be proud of. That’s one million times people are improving their health, reducing their own and other people’s health insurance costs, saving money on gas and car repair, and decreasing traffic congestion, all while having fun commuting and getting around. Plus, it’s only the middle of the year with lots more pedal strokes ahead of us. Keep going Portlanders."
Since it was installed on August 8th, the counter — which was donated to the city by Cycle Oregon — has logged over 1.6 million trips
While Friday's celebration will be fun, PBOT is also telling the local media that the counter is "has a serious purpose, giving transportation planners a useful tool to collect data, track bicycle use and plan transportation improvements and public investments for all modes of transportation... A visual bike counter raises public awareness of [City adopted] goals and highlights the city’s progress in reaching them."
This is a very positive sign for PBOT. I think they've missed a few opportunities lately to tout their successes (NE Multnomah should have a big ribbon-cutting ceremony), so hopefully this is just an example of things to come. Spreading the word to the local media and being proactive with the cycling narrative is essential to moving forward. Nice work PBOT! I hope to see a big crowd on the bridge Friday morning.